NASHVILLE, Tenn. --- Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen made $3.5 million in grants and loans available last week to increase the accessibility, development and production of biofuels in the state. Bredesen announced the opening of the application processes last Wednesday in remarks previewing an alternative fuels strategy to be proposed in his 2007-2008 budget. "I believe we're at a critical point in which Tennessee can be a national leader in the development of the alternative fuels market," said Bredesen. "It's a smart energy strategy, a smart economic strategy and a smart environmental strategy. Most importantly, it helps create new markets and new opportunities for Tennessee farmers." Four departments are involved in coordinating the alternative fuel grant and loan process and managing the allocation of funds: Agriculture, Economic and Community Development, Environment and Conservation and Transportation. Applicants must submit a business plan with their application by March 15, 2007. Representatives of ECD's Program Management Division and the Department of Agriculture will review each application for presentation to the Governor's Alternative Fuels Working Group. The application will then be presented to ECD's Loan and Grant Committee for determining the loan's terms and conditions. "This loan program represents a key element in developing our biofuels industry and providing more opportunities for Tennessee farmers," said Agriculture Commissioner Ken Givens. “By attracting investment in soybean crushing facilities, we can help create local markets for an important agricultural product, make Tennessee farmers more competitive and bring more jobs to rural areas." After the first round of loans has been awarded, additional loan program cycles will be announced until the funds available are exhausted.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials