Yesterday, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) announced the launch of the Access Clean Energy Savings (ACES) initiative. ACES provides technical assistance to help rural electric cooperatives and public power utilities apply for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Electric Savings Program (RESP), which provides zero-interest 20-year loans for improving energy efficiency.
RESP loans can finance cost-effective energy upgrades like on- and off-grid renewable energy systems, building efficiency improvements, permanently installed energy storage devices, and beneficial electrification projects. This will help families and businesses reduce their energy use, and enable utilities to better manage their loads or even increase their sales, while reaching a broader range of customers with their programs.
There is $100 million available in zero-percent interest loans through RESP by USDA. The ACES program, offered in partnership with the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA), builds off EESI’s experience providing no-cost technical assistance to rural electric co-ops for on-bill financing programs.
The current application window is open through September 2019. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but the process needs to be initiated by September 2019 in order for cooperatives to take advantage of the current round.
“EESI is delighted to launch the Access Clean Energy Savings initiative to spread the word about the funding available to rural utilities,” said EESI Executive Director Carol Werner. “The Rural Electric Savings Program offers utilities the opportunity to improve energy efficiency—it’s a no brainer! We can help cooperatives apply for those funds with our Access Clean Energy Savings program.”