The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) has made $19 million available to accelerate the use of anaerobic digester projects and clean energy technologies to make farm operations more energy efficient. Emissions reduction, cost reduction and home-grown fuels will advantage farmers and the state.
The use of clean energy technologies and practices represent major cost savings opportunities for farms and supports Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s ambitious clean energy goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40 percent by 2030.
Alicia Barton, President and CEO, NYSERDA, said, “Throughout New York’s history, farms have played a critical role in sustaining the nourishment and health of our families and communities. Governor Cuomo’s emphasis on providing funding to help bridge the gap between the agricultural sector and energy efficiency will help farms across the state reduce their energy usage while continuing to provide environmental benefits for their local communities.”
NYSERDA is offering $16 million to accelerate the anaerobic digester sector. An anaerobic digester system is a renewable energy source that can reduce costs for a facility by harvesting waste materials to produce renewable natural gas as a clean source of fuel. Anaerobic digester systems can be used on farms, waste water treatment plants, and as stand-alone systems to treat food wastes. They are fueled by gas generated from the processing of biomass feedstocks such as manure, agricultural waste, food waste, and other wastes.
Of the $16 million, nearly half is for proposals to install new anaerobic digester systems in ways that demonstrate replicable business models or strategies to expand the anaerobic digestor marketplace. These proposals must describe how their projects will improve the marketplace for anaerobic digestion technology. The remaining funds will be used to cost-share the refurbishment of existing digesters and associated equipment to extend their useful lifespans as well as for projects that will improve the capabilities of the anaerobic digestion marketplace.
An additional $3 million is being offered for the Advancing Agriculture Energy Technologies initiative to accelerate commercially available technologies and practices to make a farm operation more energy efficient. Under this initiative, proposals for emerging technologies should be replicable and provide cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to farms in New York State. Eligible technologies and practices include hardware, software, and operational strategies. Selected technologies and practices will be demonstrated on host site farms to increase awareness in the agricultural industry about these processes.
NYSERDA suggests the creation of multi-faceted teams as applicants. Eligible team members could include developers, manufacturers, farm owners, universities and other academic institutions, trade or professional organizations, and utilities. The goal is to increase the number of farms adopting emerging energy efficient technologies and to increase communication and market awareness of clean energy technologies for the agriculture sector.
Agriculture covers approximately 25 percent of land use in New York State. Livestock and agricultural activities at New York’s farms account for nearly 3 percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Total energy use on farms accounts for approximately 9 percent of farm expenses (equal to about $450 million in annual expenses).
The funding supports New York’s nation-leading efforts to combat climate change as part of the U.S. Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 16 states and Puerto Rico committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and pursuing aggressive climate actions at the state level in light of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accords, to create an energy grid that can be relied on during severe weather events.
For more information go to the NYSERDA website.