USDA awards grants to help Oklahoma businesses lower energy costs

By: - September 13, 2023 5:28 am

A wind farm is pictured in Ohio. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is awarding grants to 38 Oklahoma entities to help them reduce their energy consumption and costs as part of a clean-energy initiative. (Photo by Robert Zullo/States Newsroom)

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma State University will receive federal grant money for a program that helps businesses reduce their energy costs.

OSU will receive a grant of just under $100,000 to revive a Rural Energy Assessment Center on its Stillwater campus. The center will conduct energy audits to help rural small businesses and agricultural producers in Oklahoma reduce their energy consumption and save money.

The grant funding will give the center the resources to conduct at least 10 audits and train three students in energy management, according to information provided by Director Hitesh Vora.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently announced $4 million in grant funds would be distributed to help the university, Oklahoma agriculture producers and small businesses make investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The university previously received USDA funding to operate the center in 2020-2021 and was able to conduct 15 energy audits that recommended energy savings of more than $75,000.

The USDA said it prioritizes energy audit programs because they can decrease energy demands and increase the private-sector supply of renewable energy.

The Rural Energy Assessment Center will be housed within OSU’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program. The USDA-funded program is similar to OSU’s Industrial Assessment Center, which has conducted energy audits for more than 40 years.

The USDA grant funding will be dispersed to 38 Oklahoma entities as part of the Inflation Reduction Act, which promotes clean-energy initiatives, according to a news release.

Various agricultural producers and businesses in rural Oklahoma will also receive grant money to install wind turbines, solar-energy systems and energy-efficient lighting.

“Thanks to President Biden delivering on his economic promises, we can expect these Oklahoma businesses and agriculture producers to save more than $690,000 a year on their energy costs,” said Kenneth Corn, the USDA’s Oklahoma director for rural development. “These are real dollars that will make real impacts for strengthening our Oklahoma economy for years to come.”


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Carmen Forman
Carmen Forman

Carmen covers state government, politics and health care from Oklahoma City. A Norman native, she previously worked in Arizona and Virginia before she began reporting on the Oklahoma Capitol.