Department of Rural Affairs - Wind Energy for Desalination Program

January 28, 2011


Note: The 2011 application window for this program has expired. The information provided below is for reference only. The Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA) offers grants of up to $1.5 million to qualified local governments that use wind turbines to desalinate brackish ground water. Qualifying local governments are limited to incorporated Texas cities with less than 50,000 residents and counties with less than 200,000 residents. Desalinated groundwater should be used to help meet the drinking water needs of a rural community. In order to qualify for a grant, applicants should demonstrate the community's need to desalinate brackish groundwater and the absence of other viable long-term viable drinking water sources. In general, eligible projects must use wind generated electricity to power a reverse osmosis or other desalination facility or to help pump brackish groundwater for treatment. Projects must produce at least 20,000 gallons of water per day. The project must demonstrate the ability to be scaled up (e.g., larger wind turbines, expanded desalination facilities) towards a goal of eventually providing a majority of community drinking water needs. Consideration will also be given to projects that enhance the performance of existing wind power/groundwater desalination systems. Such enhancements may include but are not limited to improved system controls, energy storage and recovery, the incorporation of other renewable electricity sources, or reduced impact concentrate disposal techniques. Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis according to an evaluation structure which considers:

  • Type of project (i.e., using wind power for desalination of brackish groundwater)
  • Prospects for wider application or duplication in other rural areas
  • Demonstrated lack of drinking water sources other than brackish groundwater and adequate brackish groundwater resource
  • Long-term cost/benefits and relationship to state renewable energy goals (e.g., expected energy savings)
  • Partnerships and collaborations with other entities focusing on promoting renewables
  • Leveraging of other funding sources (i.e., level of matching funds)
  • Location in rural areas
The Texas legislature has authorized funding for this program for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011. The 2011 solicitation for this program had a deadline of December 17, 2010 with a total Fiscal Year 2011 budget of $3 million. Please see the program website for application information and a detailed program guide describing additional funding requirements.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: State
Category: Financial Incentive
State: Texas
Incentive Type: Grant Program
Web Site:
Administrator: Texas Department of Rural Affairs
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Wind (All)
  • Wind (Small)
Incentive Amount: Varies
Maximum Incentive: $1.5 M
Installation Requirements: Wind project must be used to power a reverse osmosis or other desalination facility or be used to pump brackish groundwater for treatment.


Name: Travis Brown
Organization: Texas Department of Rural Affairs
Address: Post Office Box 12877, Capitol Station
Austin TX 78711
Phone: (512) 936-7878

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.