NY to Help Farmers Cut Energy Costs and Utilize Clean Energy

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Posted: Tuesday, June 6, 2017 6:28 pm | Updated: 1:43 pm, Wed Jun 7, 2017.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the release of a comprehensive strategic plan to help farms across New York State cut energy costs and usage while accelerating the use of clean energy for more sustainable and profitable farming operations. The new state Clean Energy for Agriculture Task Force Strategic Plan will help New York achieve these clean energy goals and it supports the Governor’s ambitious Reforming the Energy Vision and Clean Energy Standard as the state also Moves closer to reducing 40 percent of its harmful greenhouse gas emissions based on 1990 levels by 2030.

Complementing this announcement was the creation of the Greenhouse Lighting and Systems Engineering Consortium, a public-private consortium including RPI, Cornell University and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, to transform the way greenhouses operate.

Both the GLASE and Clean Energy for Agriculture Task Force Strategic Plan were unveiled today at an event held at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy. The Task Force is being led by NYSERDA and the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets along with the New York State Department of Public Service, the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Empire State Development, Cornell University, New York State Farm Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Farm Credit East. Efforts undertaken by the GLASE Consortium will advance the goals of the Governor’s task force.

Livestock and agricultural activities at New York’s nearly 36,000 farms account for nearly three percent of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture covers approximately 25 percent of land use in the state. Greater use of clean energy practices by farms can further reduce their greenhouse gas impacts and energy costs while building on the state’s efforts to promote environmentally sustainable practices.

Those efforts include several programs administered by the Department of Agriculture and Markets to minimize the environmental impact of New York farms, address water and soil quality and lower costs. Since 2011, approximately $2.5 million has been awarded through the Climate Resilient Farming grant program, to help farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for and better manage impacts of climate change. In addition, the Agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control Program has dedicated nearly $80 million over the last five years to address water and soil quality on farms.

Greenhouses, which cover 720 acres in New York State, extend the growing season and protect crops and other plants from harsh weather conditions. They are particularly electricity-intensive compared to other types of buildings. GLASE aims to reduce their electricity use by 70 percent and increase crop yields by 2030.

"I want to thank the Clean Energy for Agriculture Task Force and all the organizations and agencies that helped to develop the strategic plan for reducing farmers’ energy costs," said New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO John B. Rhodes. "NYSERDA looks forward to working with our partners on the task force to implement the plan’s recommendations, to help make energy more affordable to farmers and support the Governor’s Reforming the Energy Vision strategy."

SOURCE: New York State Energy Research and Development Authority

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