Earlier this month, USDA Rural Development Staff in Puerto Rico held an energy stakeholders meeting to present the new online tools available on the revamped Energy Programs website. Also an overview of the projects developed in the island with the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) funds were highlighted throughout the reunion.
The forum moderator was José Otero-García, the State Director for USDA Rural Development in Puerto Rico. The list of attendees include representatives from the banking industry, universities delegates, federal & state government executives, business owners, technical consultants and local ranchers and farmers. Also present at the meeting was the Resident Commissioner in the United States Congress, Honorable Pedro Pierluisi, who offered the greeting remarks and reaffirmed his commitment to support renewable energy initiatives in the island.
The meeting main objective was to present a summary of the REAP initiatives in Puerto Rico, explain the funds available for the program, opportunities to leverage capital to maximize USDA money distribution for energy loans, and discussion of best practices and current challenges of the Renewable Energy for America Program.
The activity also covered an overview of the new available resources such as the Energy Maps and Energy matrix which allow the users to have a comprehensive idea of existing REAP funding portfolio by technology within the states. The discussion also addressed the opportunities to leverage funds with local lenders.
The attendants also benefited from testimony from existing grantees who shared their experiences during the development of their projects. The meeting concluded with an agreement to encourage the holding of future follow up meeting to bring together more of the industry players to strengthen REAP and contribute to the development of renewable energy projects in Puerto Rico. The activity was covered by the local press.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today released a report outlining how REAP has promoted energy conservation and renewable energy production. To read the report, click here. The deadline to apply for some REAP funds is rapidly approaching. To learn more click here.