U.S. Senators Smith, Klobuchar Announce Major Investments to Expand Renewable Energy, Lower Energy Bills for Minnesotans

WASHINGTON [12/22/22] U.S. Senators Tina Smith and Amy Klobuchar (both D-Minn.) announced over $21.6 million in federal funding to lower energy costs, combat climate change, and expand access to clean energy for Minnesotans. The funding – made possible by the Inflation Reduction Act– is based on Senator Smith’s legislation to help rural communities install renewable energy systems and will be distributed across nearly 150 projects throughout the state. The projects will save Minnesota businesses and families thousands of dollars a year in energy costs while reducing harmful greenhouse emissions.     

“The transition to clean energy is happening, the question is whether our country leads or follows. I want us to lead,” said Smith. “These investments in renewable energy will save Minnesota businesses and families thousands of dollars a year in energy costs while helping reduce harmful emissions. I’m proud of our work to pass the Inflation Reduction Act, which made investments like these possible.”

“Investments in renewable energy drive our economy forward and help consumers save on energy costs,” said Klobuchar. “This federal funding will lower energy bills for communities across the state while making it easier for farmers and small businesses to access energy efficiency upgrades.”

The funding is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which helps farmers, ag producers and entrepreneurs purchase and install renewable energy systems and make energy efficiency improvements. Nearly 150 projects in Minnesota are set to receive funding thanks to a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act based directly on Senator Smith’s bipartisan Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) improvement Act of 2021 which she introduced with Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-7).  The bill provided the program with dramatically increased funding while strengthening and expanding eligibility to help rural communities install renewable energy systems.  Senator Smith is the chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Rural Development and Energy.  Senator Smith led the Democratic marker bill for the Farm Bill Energy Title in 2018 and will lead on energy again in the 2023 Farm Bill next year.