Program

Rural Energy for America Program

Category

Energy - Alternative

Subsidy Type

Mandatory

Committees of Jurisdiction

Senate Agriculture Committee

$51 FY 16 Budget Score (in mil.)
$505 FY 16-25 Budget Score (in mil.)

The Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) was authorized under the 2002 Farm Bill and extended in the 2008 and 2014 farm bills. The program provides loan guarantees and grants for rural small business and agricultural producers to purchase renewable energy systems, energy efficiency improvements, energy audits, and feasibility studies. Renewable energy systems include wind, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, renewable biomass, anaerobic digesters, hydrogen, and others. Even though REAP was designed to promote renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, from 2010-2014, nearly a third of REAP funding was spent on the mature corn ethanol and biodiesel industries, anaerobic digesters for livestock operations, and other questionable expenditures including taxpayer funding for grain dryers, biomass energy, irrigation motors, tobacco curing, and “other” projects. Specifically, taxpayer dollars were spent on blender pumps for the corn ethanol industry until the 2014 farm bill forbid this practice. REAP funding also subsidizes the soy biodiesel industry which has received federal subsidies for more than a decade.

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