Viability Secures $1.3M In Energy Grants
The Michigan-based economic development consulting firm also harnesses millions in new energy investments through a USDA program to implement energy projects.
October 28, 2009
Viability reaped the reward of a national focus on energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, securing $1.3 million in clean energy grant funding and leveraging $31.5 million in overall project investment for its clients as part of USDA's Renewable Energy for America Program (REAP).
The federal REAP grant funds up to $250,000 for efficiency projects and $500,000 for renewable energy projects in designated rural areas.
Viability assists companies prepare and submit grant applications that promote sustainability through several programs.
"Businesses are seizing the opportunity to lower operational costs and reduce their environmental footprint through clean energy technologies," says Viability President Chris Byrnes. "Even though these energy projects pay for themselves in time, the grant helps overcome the initial capital investment that accompanies new technologies."
Altogether, Viability's REAP clients will reduce their carbon dioxide emissions by 33,519 tons annually, the majority of which results from its greenhouse clients. That amount, according to EPA estimates, is approximate to the annual electricity usage of 4,217 households.
Greenhouses were a large part of Viability's winning clientele, partially due to their energy intensive activities, rural geography and variety of energy improvement options.
Viability's lead grant writer believes companies are recognizing the value in energy technologies.
"Nationwide, there is an increased interest and competition from businesses for grants," Greg Lam says. "One state alone saw four times the number of applicants this year compared to last."
Even with the recession, Viability saw a 15 percent jump overall in awarded grants compared to 2008.
Viability's REAP clients came from six states and featured dramatic reductions in energy use and costs. Projects included:
- A greenhouse biomass boiler system that replaces 100 percent of natural gas usage, trims $1.6 million a year in heating costs and supports local biomass production.
- A smaller greenhouse biomass boiler system that cuts natural gas usage by 72 percent and saves $215,000 in annual energy usage.
- Energy efficiency equipment that better insulates a greenhouse structure, lowers heating requirements by 43 percent and increases crop yield.
The 2010 REAP program began accepting applications October 1.
For more information on Viability, visit its website at ViabilityLLC.com.