Dunn Energy Co-op Downsville, Wisconsin

Clean Energy

Repowering the Rural Midwest

ELPC helped create the Farm Bill’s first-ever clean energy programs in 2002, and funded in 2003. Since then, we’ve continued to be a leader in supporting energy opportunities for rural communities.

Rural communities are critical to building America’s clean energy future. From small towns to farms and ranches, innovation and efficiency are everywhere. People are installing wind turbines and solar panels, retrofitting their buildings for energy efficiency, or building new machinery like anaerobic digesters. Innovative techniques are helping these business leaders become more competitive and cut down carbon pollution. Today, the Midwest is home to six of the top 12 states for wind energy (Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Indiana, & Michigan) and three of the states with the fastest-growing solar job markets (Illinois, Ohio, Minnesota).

The message is out there that the wind and the sun can be harvested alongside grain and livestock. Since 2003, the Farm Bill’s popular Energy Title programs have helped bring clean energy to thousands of farmers, ranchers, rural electric coops, and small businesses across the country. Every year, demand outstrips supply for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), because rural communities want to be part of America’s green energy landscape.

What is ELPC Doing?

Advocating for the Rural Energy for America Program

The Rural Energy for America Program — REAP — uniquely accelerates the development of a broad range of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies that serve every state and all of agriculture. REAP provides competitive grants and loan guarantees to cover a portion of project costs. ELPC led the charge to create REAP as part of the Farm Bill’s first-ever clean energy programs in 2002. This program has helped over 25,000 farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses produce clean energy, cut energy costs, and boost rural economic development. With the climate crisis worsening, more markets demand a lower carbon footprint, and REAP helps agricultural producers to bring commodities to market with clean energy.

REAP got a major boost in the Inflation Reduction Act and is up for renewal in the next Farm Bill. REAP can continue to provide climate solutions while supporting agriculture and rural communities.

Wind farm in Montfort, WI

Working with allies for clean energy opportunities

ELPC advocates work with a large and diverse group of allies across the country, including commodity groups, clean energy advocates, farmers unions, rural electric coops, and agricultural groups. Together we promote programs in rural communities, track on-the-ground progress, and highlight success stories.

Celebrating rural success

We share the stories of rural America with the public and elected officials, to make sure policies reflect the needs of real communities. Check out our Rural Solar Stories for energy highlights from rural communities across the Midwest.

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