"REAP"-ing benefits of efficient energy programs

By WEEK Producer

March 20, 2012 Updated Oct 26, 2013 at 4:02 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.-- A USDA program is helping rural small businesses and farmers become more energy efficient.
It's called the Rural Energy for America Program or "REAP."

The program is part of President Obama's "all-of-the-above" approach to energy -- which includes developing new alternative energy sources.

Corn Belt Energy in Bloomington installed a geo-thermal heating and cooling system last summer with the help of a USDA energy grant.

"The system saves the company an average of 30 percent on its energy bills, which in turn, benefits customers," said Colleen Callahan, State Director of the U.S. Department of Ag Rural Development. "This reduces their cost of doing business because it reduces the cost of keeping their headquarters open which relates then to the energy they are providing to their customers they potentially can do that at a reduced rate to their customers."

Since 2003, the program has saved enough energy to power nearly 600,000 American homes for one year.

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