Urban households in the United States use a combined three times amount of total energy than rural households. Despite this, the Energy Information Administration has estimated that rural families spend more than $400 per year on energy bills.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has partnered with rural businesses and agricultural producers through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to lessen some of these high costs.
The partnership aims to construct 6,605 renewable energy systems and energy efficiency improvement, beginning with approval dating back to 2009. Since then, it has generated more than $213 million in grants, as well as $178 million in loan guarantees. By taking these measures, the security of energy improvements can be secured, in addition to the creation of jobs and the protection of natural air and water sources.
When these projects are completed, they will have saved these communities 7.32 billion kWh annually, enough energy to power 68,000 household for a year.
In addition to this collaboration, the Department of Agriculture recently announced a partnership with the DOE, known as the State Energy Extension Partnership. This partnership is set to give America's farming communities and rural small businesses the energy efficiency tools, training and other resources necessary to reduce energy costs. These changes include:
- Incorporating educational materials and technical assistance on energy efficiency and renewable energy into programs for youth and adults.
- Providing easy access to information on tax credits and other incentives for using energy efficient means to complete tasks.
- Supporting rural communities in energy efficiency and renewable resources to assist in job creation, expand businesses opportunities and improve local economies.