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Sorensen Announces Funding to Help Rural and Small Businesses Lower Energy Costs

ROCK ISLAND, IL – Congressman Eric Sorensen (IL-17) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are announcing $146,749 for Western Illinois University (WIU) in Macomb to help rural and small businesses and agriculture producers secure grants that will lower energy costs and strengthen energy resilience.

“I applaud Western Illinois University for securing this critical funding to help farmers and business owners in our rural communities implement sustainable energy technologies that will leave a brighter future for the next generation of Illinoisans,” said Sorensen. “At a time when so many are dealing with high energy costs, investments like these are essential to making sure agriculture producers and rural families have the tools to thrive.”

"We are grateful for the support of USDA rural development and Representative Sorensen's office in receiving this technical assistance grant from the Rural Energy for America Program. With this support, we will be able to expand our program and provide technical assistance to independent grocery stores in order to prevent the creation of food deserts in Illinois," said Sean Park, Illinois Institute for Rural Affairs at Western Illinois University.

This award comes as part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Technical Assistance Grant Program to allow WIU to provide technical assistance for 21 rural and small businesses to secure funding under the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). REAP helps entities implement renewable energy projects and make energy efficiency improvements that can lower costs and make rural communities more sustainable.

This funding specifically will allow WIU to assist six agricultural producers, three rural electric cooperatives and 12 rural grocery stores in securing funding to implement new energy technologies over a three-year period.

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