The South Carolina Department of Agriculture and Hugh Weathers, Commissioner, has released a request for renewable energy proposals as part of a new state grant and loan program.

Administering the program on behalf of the state of South Carolina, the Department of Agriculture urges any public or private entity with an eligible project to apply.

A Renewable Energy Oversight Committee, designated by members of the General Assembly, the Governor, and agency heads will make final project decisions. Applicants can submit Preliminary Proposals during two grant award periods between October 2007 and June 2008. Preliminary Proposals will go through an initial screening and applicants may be invited to submit Full Proposals for review by the Oversight Committee.

“Renewable energy has been a major focus among Southeastern states in recent years, said Commissioner Weathers. “Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida have created similar programs in their states to stimulate renewable energy development. South Carolina will benefit greatly from this program through new opportunities for farmers and businesses and through the encouragement of economic development in rural areas.”

In June 2007, the South Carolina General Assembly passed key legislation which created the program, known as the South Carolina Renewable Energy Infrastructure Development Fund. The Fund was designed primarily to develop a strong renewable energy industry, to redirect a significant portion of energy expenditures leaving the state into South Carolina’s economy, and to foster a cleaner, healthier, more productive environment by reducing the adverse impacts of fossil fuel use.

For information about how to apply for a renewable energy grant or loan, visit http:www.energy.sc.gov.