USDA seeking applications for loan guarantees for biomass fuels and energy programs

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is seeking applications for loan guarantees in the Biorefinery Assistance Program, Repowering Assistance Program, and the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels.

These three USDA Rural Development renewable energy programs are authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill).

USDA’s Biorefinery Assistance Program provides loan guarantees to develop and construct commercial-scale biorefineries or to retrofit existing facilities using eligible technology for the development of advanced biofuels. Under the Notice of Funds Availability (NOFA), USDA is making approximately $463 million in program level available for loan guarantees in Fiscal Year (FY) 2011. For FY 2011, there is only one round of competition. Applications must be received by 10 May 2011.

The Repowering Assistance Program is designed to encourage the use of renewable biomass as a replacement fuel source for fossil fuels used to process heat or power in the operation of eligible biorefineries (those biorefineries in existence on 18 June 2008, the date the 2008 Farm Bill was enacted). Eligible project costs will be only for project related construction costs for repowering improvements associated with the equipment, installation, engineering, design, site plans, associated professional fees, permits and financing fees. Under this notice, USDA is making available approximately $25 million to make payments to eligible biorefineries. The deadline to apply for funding under this program is 9 June 2011.

The Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels works to support and ensure an expanding production of advanced biofuels by providing payments to eligible advanced biofuels producers. USDA may fund up to $85 million under a Notice of Contract Proposal (NOCP) for Payments to Eligible Advanced Biofuel Producers in FY 2011. The deadline to apply is 10 May 2011. To be eligible for payments, advanced biofuels must be produced from renewable biomass, excluding corn kernel starch, in a biofuel facility located in a state.

Advanced biofuels are derived from renewable biomass to include cellulose, sugar and starch, crop residue, vegetative waste material, animal waste, food and yard waste, vegetable oil, animal fat, and biogas (including landfill gas and sewage waste treatment gas).

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