New initiative to enhance utility access to USDA loans


The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) has launched the Access Clean Energy Savings (ACES) initiative.

The aim is to provide technical assistance to rural electric cooperatives and public power utilities and help them to apply for loans offered by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

USDA provides the zero-interest loans, payable over a period of 20 years, through the Rural Electric Savings Programme (RESP).

RESP is partnering with the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) to provide up to $100 million in loans.

The loans will be offered to projects including on- and off-grid renewable energy systems, building efficiency improvements, energy storage systems and beneficial electrification projects.

The loans form parts of efforts by USDA to reduce consumer energy use and to help utilities to better manage their loads or even increase their sales, while reaching a broader range of customers with their programmes.

The current application window is open through September 2019. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, but the process needs to be initiated by September 2019 in order for cooperatives to take advantage of the current round.

ACES is supported by The JPB Foundation, the New York Community Trust, the McKnight Foundation, and the Merck Family Fund.

For more information, please contact John-Michael Cross at or (202) 662-1883.