Four Virgin Islands companies have won federal grants totalling $76,000 to help them become more energy efficient and reduce their dependence on the power grid, according to a Saturday statement from Gov. John deJongh Jr.
The funds were awarded by the Rural Energy for America Program, which awarded a total of 631 grants to projects across the nation. REAP helps farmers and rural small business owners reduce energy consumption and costs by employing renewable energy technologies in their operations and studying renewable energy projects.
The four Virgin Islands firms to receive awards were: Two Plus Two, LLC, awarded $26,000 for energy efficiency improvements to HVAC and lighting; Sunny Isle Developers, LLC, $11,168 to fund installation of energy efficient lighting; Stowaway Self Storage, Inc., $19,997, and Legacy Restaurants, LLC, $18,835, both to install solar photovoltaic systems.
“I’m proud to see the U.S. Department of Agriculture recognize and support four great local firms that are striving to be a part of the solution to our territory’s energy challenges," deJongh said in congratulating the businesses. "Their projects are representative of energy projects going on in the private and public sectors across these islands that will dramatically decrease our territory’s dependence on fossil fuels, lower electricity prices for all ratepayers and protect our natural environment."
The awards were announced by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
“As part of the Obama Administration’s ‘all-of-the-above’ energy strategy, USDA continues to work with America’s farmers, ranchers and rural businesses to help them save energy and improve their bottom line,” Vilsack said. “This program and others like it would not be available without a Food, Farm and Jobs Bill, and again I urge members of Congress to pass a bill when they return to Washington next month.”
This year’s REAP grants provided $21 million in assistance toward clean energy projects that will strengthen rural economies across the country, help the conservation of natural resources and the development of new forms of energy that reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels. These federal funds leverage other private funding sources for businesses, according to the statement from Government House.