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USDA Seeks Applications for Grants to Offset High Energy Costs in Rural Areas

Daniel Blottenberger's picture
Public Affairs Specialist, USDA Rural Development Pennsylvania

At USDA Rural Development we are committed to helping improve the economy and quality of life in rural America. Through our more than 40 loan and grant programs, we touch rural America in many...

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  • May 5, 2021

WASHINGTON, May 5, 2021 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Under Secretary for Rural Development Justin Maxson today announced that USDA is seeking applications for grants to offset high energy costs in rural areas.

USDA is making the funding available through the High Energy Cost Grant program. This program helps state and local governments and nonprofit agencies acquire, construct, extend, upgrade, or otherwise improve energy generation, transmission or distribution facilities. Grants may also be used to install on-grid and off-grid renewable energy systems and to make energy efficiency improvements.

Eligible projects must be in communities where the average residential home energy expenditure is at least 275 percent of the national average. USDA expects to award up to $10 million for Fiscal Year 2021.

What is the national average annual home energy cost?
For the purposes of this program, the high energy cost benchmarks effective for 2021 High Energy Cost Grant Funding Opportunity Announcement:

  • Electricity  $3,779 ($0.3627 per kilowatt hour)
  • Natural gas  $1,639 ($30.06 per thousand cubic feet)
  • Fuel oil  $3,317 ($7.10 per gallon)
  • LPG/propane  $1,843 ($5.25 per gallon)
  • Total household energy $5,104 ($66.19 per million Btu)

Paper applications must be postmarked and mailed, shipped or sent overnight no later than July 6, 2021.

Electronic applications must be submitted to by midnight Eastern Standard Time on July 6, 2021.



USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on May 5, 2021

Interesting program, Daniel-- thanks for sharing. It's definitely compelling to look at the unique circumstances of rural utilities and their customers and how the costs and requirements differ. Especially when low-income households are involved and the costs take up an undue burden, these programs couldn't be more important. 

Daniel Blottenberger's picture
Daniel Blottenberger on May 5, 2021

Thank you for the comment Matt. 

Daniel Blottenberger's picture
Thank Daniel for the Post!
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