The Michigan Electric Cooperative Association (MECA) is applying for a $100,000 Rural Energy for America Program grant that would reduce the cost of agricultural and farm energy audits.
The grant is available through the Rural Development section of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the audits would be offered through Michigan State University’s Michigan Agricultural Energy Council (MAEC), which will also help with the grant writing process.
“This grant would allow MECA to promote its current energy efficiency efforts by subsidizing farm energy audits that meet funding standards required by both federal and state agricultural energy programs,” explains Art Thayer, MECA’s energy efficiency programs director. “Current costs for such audits are $2,500-$3,500 per audit.”
MECA administers an Energy Optimization program that provides energy efficiency services and education to the consumers served by their member distribution electric co-ops and several municipal electric utilities, as well.
In a letter of support for MECA’s application, U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Lansing) said she is impressed by the Association’s commitment to reducing energy use. “Energy prices continue to rise and it is critical that our agricultural producers understand and implement measures to use energy as efficiently as possible,” she said.