Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $6.4 million in funding to help farmers reduce energy costs, protect the environment, and remain economically viable. This new funding expands a successful program launched in 2011, which has already assisted 170 farms in securing annual energy savings of $850,000 and reducing power usage by 6,800 megawatt hours.
Administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), the Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program (AEEP) facilitates energy audits to help identify energy efficiency measures and provides funding that pays for 75 percent of the implementation cost of electricity and gas efficiency projects on farms and at on-farm producers.
"The agricultural sector represents a $4 billion industry in the state and is a critical driver in New York's economy," Governor Cuomo said. "The Agriculture Energy Efficiency Program will help our farmers and on-farm producers reduce their costs through investments in energy-efficient projects and equipment. Additionally, these projects will have a very beneficial impact on the environment."
Francis J. Murray Jr., President and CEO of NYSERDA, said, "Agriculture is the heart and soul of our state and a time honored way of life for many New Yorkers. Governor Cuomo has pledged to help farmers remain the stalwarts of their communities and assist them in reducing their costs to become more economically viable. While farms and agricultural processing can require considerable amounts of energy, the AEEP program helps identify opportunities for energy savings and offset the costs of energy and production efficiency investments."
Program incentives are available to offset the cost of equipment or projects, including energy efficiency facility and productivity improvements and expansions that support electric and natural gas efficiency.
Farms that are eligible for the funding include: orchards, dairies, greenhouses, vegetables, vineyards, grain dryers, egg and poultry farms and others as well as on-site farm producers such as cider mills. Energy efficiency upgrades covered by the program include: process improvements; lighting upgrades; high-efficiency fan, pump, and motor systems; and other measures. Eligibility is limited to farms that pay into the System Benefit Charge.
Launched in 2011, AEEP's first round of funding made available $3.2 million to assist farms in becoming more energy efficient and, therefore, more sustainable, helping to build and strengthen the rural economy of New York State.
Today's announcement follows Governor Cuomo's recent announcement outlining two programs to help dairy farmers lower their energy costs and help expand their production and efficiency. NYSERDA is doubling the maximum incentive for its Anaerobic Digester Biogas to Electricity (ADG) program from $1 million to up to $2 million per installation. The Governor also announced that $450,000 was being made available for a Dairy Acceleration Program (DAP) that will provide grants and coordinate funding and technical programs to help farmers interested in expanding their operations or increasing their efficiency.