A New Federal Government Collaboration Will Support Investment in CCUS Technology in Rural America

Top 3 Things You Should Know About the DOE-USDA Program

There is promise—and progress—in the development of carbon capture, utilization and storage, and clean energy technologies. In rural America, especially, the potential for next generation CCUS is both a lifeline for economic and job security and a benefit for the environment.

Last year, the US Department of Agriculture and the US Department of Energy entered into a comprehensive collaboration to support commercial deployment of CCUS and other energy projects, in recognition of the strategic importance of coal in the American energy portfolio and the need to stimulate job growth and economic development in rural areas.  In a recent webinar sponsored by the United States Energy Association (USEA), leaders from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Services and DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy discussed the unique nature of this federal government partnership.

Here are the 3 most important things you should know about how the USDA-DOE collaboration will strengthen rural communities and pave the way for CCUS investment and innovation:

The program’s primary objectives are economic development-driven.

These objectives are:

  • Develop and expand energy- and manufacturing-related businesses, industries, and technologies in rural America
  • Encourage investments in new or improved rural energy infrastructure
  • Enhance capital access for energy-related businesses and industries in rural America
  • Support rural community investments that anticipate growth associated with rural energy investment and development
  • Encourage, support, and invest in cybersecurity initiatives and grid improvements

The program includes support from multi-agency government teams.

Because of the strong reliance on partners from other industries to ensure the success of rural workforce and business initiatives, there is cooperation from federal programs in housing, forestry, water, agriculture, and other areas.

A core component of the program is the opportunity for Rural Utilities Services loans and grants.

In fiscal year 2019 alone, the Rural Utilities Services provided $5.77 billion in loans and grants to support utilities in rural America. This lending facility could be of significant benefit to sponsors of CCUS projects in rural America.   

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Photo: Jason Fransonn, The Canadian Press