The South Carolina Department of Agriculture, in cooperation with the South Carolina Energy Office, has announced the second round of South Carolina Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development Fund awards.

Administered by the Department of Agriculture, the South Carolina Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development Fund was established in June of 2007 to provide funding for renewable energy demonstration projects, research and development projects, and planning grants to organizations, businesses and research institutions in the state. Qualified renewable energy projects include wind, solar, and biomass energy.

“With only 5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. consumes more than 25 percent of the world’s energy. Because of the talent and innovative spirit we have here in the state, South Carolina is at the forefront of a remarkable renewable energy revolution that could help transform our nation’s status from a big energy user to a big energy producer,” said Hugh Weathers Commissioner of Agriculture.

“At $120 a barrel for crude oil,” he said, “developing cleaner, cheaper, more reliable alternative energy sources is more critical than ever. These grants foster economic growth and expansion, protect our environment, and could make our dependence on foreign oil a thing of the past.”

Six projects were awarded a total of $1.03 million in the second round selection process. The projects are related to solar cooling and heating for large buildings using absorption chilling technology; educational demonstrations of switchgrass production for use as biofuel; construction of an organic bioenergy institute (a technology incubator for developing green energy); improving the properties of woody biomass as a biofuel through torrefaction; the sustainable use of fossil fuel burning C02 emissions to accelerate plant biomass growth for producing renewable green energy; and the conversion of on-farm poultry litter waste into electricity.

For those interested in applying for South Carolina Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development Funds, the round three deadline is June 6, 2008.

For more information about the grant recipients or the selection process, contact Erika Hartwig, South Carolina Energy Office, ehartwig@energy.sc.gov, 803-737-7951, or Larry Boyleston, South Carolina Department of Agriculture, 803-734-2210.