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Posts tagged: Under Secretary

USDA Rural Energy for America Program Funds Cut Energy Costs at a Maine Hotel

Written by C. Jeffrey Bergeron, Acting USDA Public Information OfficerUSDA Rural Development Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager and Maine Rural Development State Director Virginia Manuel visited a Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) project in Ogunquit, Maine while attending the 2010 National Association of Credit Specialists Annual Convention earlier this week.

The project was at the Meadowmere Hotel in Ogunquit, which with the aid of a USDA Rural Development REAP Grant of $49,625 was able to install a state-of-the-art commercial solar thermal hot water system to preheat a significant portion of the domestic hot water for the building.

The approximate 30 percent savings the Meadowmere Hotel will recoup in energy costs will allow the hotel to continue to sustain its business and 53 jobs.  “This project is a perfect example of how Rural Development is working to help keep the Maine economy on track” said Manuel, as she and Under Secretary Tonsager visited the hotel and viewed the solar thermal system.  Manuel said, “The solar thermal hot water system is a great source of clean renewable energy, and USDA Rural Development is dedicated to supporting the rural Maine economy by funding green projects like this one.”

Standing in front of the solar panels on the hotels roof are (Left to Right)  Allyson Cavaretta, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager, Owner Phillip Cavaretta, and Maine State Director Virginia Manuel. The energy saving panels were funding in part with funds from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program. Standing in front of the solar panels on the hotels roof are (Left to Right)  Allyson Cavaretta, Under Secretary Dallas Tonsager, Owner Phillip Cavaretta, and Maine State Director Virginia Manuel. The energy saving panels were funded in part with funds from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program.

USDA Under Secretary, Housing Administrator and Staff Pitch In to Help Delaware Families Build Their Own Homes

Abraham Lincoln was known for being self-reliant, so it is fitting that, with support from USDA, prospective homeowners in Lincoln, Delaware are building their own homes.  USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager, Housing Administrator Tammye Trevino, RD Delaware State Director Jack Tarburton and staff from USDA’s national and local offices joined together yesterday to swing hammers, pound nails and assist in the effort. It’s all part of National Homeownership Month. Read more »

Under Secretary Tonsager Talks About USDA Renewable Energy Development Support at the Department of Energy’s Biomass Conference

Yesterday it was my privilege to address those attending the Biomass 2010 Conference, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.  The Obama Administration is committed to fighting the effects of climate change while supporting farmers and ranchers, and promoting sustainable economic growth. My speech centered on opportunities available to farmers and ranchers as a result of biofuel production.

Our budget at USDA contains billions of dollars allocated to build on new energy and environmental opportunities.  As part of this effort, President Obama issued the “Growing America’s Fuel” report, which lays out the Administration’s strategy to advance development and commercialization of a sustainable industry which grows and produces second and third generation biofuels while continuing to support first generation producers.  Congress has mandated that the U.S. produce 36 billion gallons of biofuel annually by 2022 and we estimate that by then farmer’s incomes will increase by $13 billion annually.  The caveat is that only 15 billion gallons of the yearly quota can come from corn ethanol.

Much of the new biofuel will be produced from an array of sources including grasses, cane, sorghum, oil seeds, algae and woody biomass.  To encourage production from these new sources, we are working to mitigate risk and get capital flowing.  One model that shows great promise is the so called “New Generation Cooperative” which is financed through sale of delivery rights: a member’s right to deliver a specific amount of a commodity to the cooperative.

As I said to conference members, we must continue to support development of new technology and demonstrate to lenders the importance of transitioning to advanced biofuels. Our responsibility is clear: We will support the entrepreneurs that have the drive to compete in the marketplace and build a new energy future for America.

To read more about the Under Secretary’s views on renewable energy, see the article on page 2 of Rural Cooperatives Magazine.

Dallas Tonsager is Under Secretary for Rural Development

USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager addresses a biomass conference sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy - Photos by Stephen Thompson, USDA
USDA Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager addresses a biomass conference sponsored by the                                  U.S. Department of Energy

 

Photos by Stephen Thompson, USDA