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Green energy to get big boost locally

MIDDLEBURY Several funding options are now available from the Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF), the administration of Gov. Jim Douglas announced last week. The Department of Public Service is now accepting proposals for the CEDF Grant program, which funds renewable energy and combined heat and power technologies that generate electricity and are connected to the grid, said Douglas. Energy produced in Vermont from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and hydropower can improve both our economy and the environment. The department expects to award $2 million in funding for projects in the following categories: Pre-Project Financial Assistance, Small-Scale Systems, Large-Scale Systems, and Special Demonstration Projects. There is a maximum award of $25,000 for Pre-Project Financial Assistance, $60,000 for Small-Scale Systems, and $250,000 for all other projects. Proposals are due on Wednesday, Oct. 1. Also available are low-interest loans for renewable electric projects including wind, solar, hydro, farm methane, and combined heat and power systems. Until further notice, the loan interest rate will be 2 percent. Loans are available to fund up to 90 percent of an eligible projects cost, for amounts between $50,000 and $250,000. Individuals, businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities, and others may apply. The CEDF is also providing Municipal Technical Assistance grants. This funding is designed to help municipalities, public schools, and Vermont State colleges investigate the installation of a wide variety of renewable energy generation technologies and combined heat and power systems that can help them lower their energy costs and put downward pressure on property taxes. The maximum grant award is $5,000, and funds can be used to pay for up to 90 percent of a projects cost; the grantee must match 10 percent of the projects cost in cash.

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