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USDA Offering $10.7B to Promote Clean Energy, Economic Development, and Salvation of Planet

Governor Kristi Noem saved South Dakota from inflation and the green agenda to save the planet by refusing to apply for a $3-million grant to study responses to climate change. But now she has to convince South Dakota’s rural electric cooperatives not to apply for a piece of the $10.7 billion that the  USDA is offering to promote green energy:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will begin to administer two loan and grant programs worth nearly $11 billion to boost clean energy systems in rural areas, administration officials said Tuesday.

Congress approved the federal spending — $9.7 billion for a grant and loan program the department is calling the New Empowering Rural America program, or New ERA, and $1 billion for a Powering Affordable Clean Energy program that will provide partly forgivable loans — in the energy, health and taxes law Democrats passed last summer.

The funding “continues an ongoing effort to ensure that rural America is a full participant in this clean energy economy,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told reporters on a teleconference in advance of the announcement.

Rural areas can have more difficulty than more urban ones in attracting private sector investment, White House National Climate Advisor Ali Zaidi said. The programs are intended to allow those rural areas to take advantage of an industry-wide trend to invest in clean energy production.

“There’s a favorable wind blowing here,” he said. “This allows rural communities to put up a sail” [Jacob Fischler, “Rural Electric Co-Ops to Get $10.7B in USDA Funds for Clean Energy Grants, Loans,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.05.16].

If co-ops take that money, would they trigger inflation… or just more of the economic development we’ve already enjoyed from greening the grid?

The money is meant not only to address the climate impacts of fossil fuel energy and reduce home energy costs, but to act as an economic engine for rural areas, Zaidi said.

Zaidi cited a Stateline analysis that showed seven of the top 10 largest gross domestic product growth increases between 2019 and 2021 had significant wind farm production.

“This is a proven driver of economic growth on the ground,” Zaidi said. “We want more folks to be able to tap into that opportunity. We’re seeing this not only translates into lower energy costs, but, to places that had been shut down, turning back on as sources of economic opportunity” [Fischler, 2023.05.16].

The fear of inflation usually hasn’t stopped South Dakota from welcoming federal subsidies. We should let a far more reality-based fear of climate catastrophe motivate our rural electric cooperatives to take all the help they can get to deploy more clean energy systems.


  1. leslie 2023-05-18 12:22

    another brilliant opportunity to illustrate that our governor is a ultra-partisan idiot. DFP rules!

    here is a profound example on the ultra-partisan, packed SCOTUS.

    Rounds chirped long and often of the “death spiral of democratic values championed by the Democratic Party and Independent Bernie Sanders” in the dreams of the power mad Republicans. It has taken an extraordinary effort and cost to battle Republicans’ corrupt machination to cling to power using disinformation and Russian meddling resulting in HRC’s defeat in 2015. We all were horrified that night, but Rounds and Noem and Johnson have been shown to be ultra-partisan fools time and again. Thune has wrapped himself in the shield of the most powerfully corrupt embrace of Mitch McConnell and has learned how to become nearly untouchable.

    But the Democratic Party has done it. Turned the Republican tide. Ordinary citizens have paid an extraordinary cost to beat back Fox News. Yet Republicans remain and will remain idiots. Some will go down blazing.

  2. sx123 2023-05-18 13:52

    Quit screwing around with daily high maintenance wind mills and use the money to put up a nuke plant or three.

  3. All Mammal 2023-05-18 14:03

    You know, when the excuse was made a bit ago that we couldn’t complete a water study because SD lacked the engineers and the funding to put towards hiring a firm to determine the impact of a water pipeline to the Black Hills area from the Missouri River, I almost lost my damn temper.

    First, we, the home of world known South Dakota School of Mines and Technology ENGINEER campus, couldn’t figure out where to find a hydro engineer or geology expert?

    Second, we would rather throw $5 Billion at a pipeline from an already overtaxed water source uphill over a hundred miles than to conserve and regard the lovely Pactola Reservoir water we do have as our precious life spring?

    And 3rd, isn’t an issue like this exactly what those grants are meant for? Like contracting our engineering and geology school to look into the water woes we are careening into?

    Ah, but that could possibly reveal the no-mindedness of allowing yet another gold drilling outfit to destroy a good portion of the state’s drinking water.

    Which reminds me of number 4. We could sure spend a few bucks of that gift money on the whole zebra mussel infestation that threatens our water infrastructure by jamming up the gates and irrigation lines needed to release water into Rapid Creek for us to drink.

    But I’m just a concerned citizen, not a wealthy KN campaign donor. Like the beheaded Marie Antoinette, I can picture hearing KN conclude after being told the people have no water to drink: “Let them drink pop.” ( more like Karkov vod, cuz it’s cheaper)

    I don’t get the priorities of some people. I never meant to be this stereotypical pissed broad, telling everyone who will listen about the dangers of our ways. F-it, I’m going all out.

  4. Mark Anderson 2023-05-18 16:19

    The Democrats should take all the money targeted for rural states, in other words red states, and say to the Hostage taking Republicans, OK you can get rid of this money. Why your at it why not get rid of all the ethanol. That’s a good negotiating tactic too. Why do blue states and urban areas continue to fund the wastelands? Gee, that’s too harsh, why fund any state that has a hundred miles between McDonald’s. More descriptive and accurate.

  5. larry kurtz 2023-05-18 20:26

    Let’s not sell Mrs. Noem short. A cynical observer might recognize that negotiating price is the world’s oldest profession.

  6. e platypus onion 2023-05-19 08:39

    Speaking of salvating the planet, the Lower Klamath Power group has decommissioned 4 dams that no longer produce electricity for removal which will open 400 miles of river for fish migrations and recreation.

  7. All Mammal 2023-05-19 13:13

    e platypus onion- that is the best news of the day. Thanks.

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