The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA) is making $19 million available for technologies that make farm operations in the state more energy efficient. These technologies include anaerobic digester systems that use waste materials as fuel for generating electricity.
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office said that the use of “clean energy technologies and practices” represents major cost savings opportunities for farms, and supports the governor’s goal for the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030.
Funding comes from the state’s 10-year, $5.3 billion Clean Energy Fund. Of the $19 million, $16 million is earmarked for accelerating the anaerobic digester sector. Fueled by gas from the processing of biomass feedstocks, such systems can be used on farms, wastewater treatment plants, and as stand-alone systems to treat food wastes, the governor’s office noted.
Within the $16 million, about half has been set aside for proposals to install new anaerobic digester gas-to-electricity systems in ways that demonstrate replicable business models or strategies to expand the anaerobic digester marketplace, according to NYSERDA. The rest of those funds will be applied to cost-share the refurbishment of existing digesters and equipment to extend their lifespans, and for project improving the anaerobic digestion marketplace.
The remaining $3 million is going toward the Advancing Agriculture Energy Technologies initiative to accelerate commercially available technologies and practices that can make a farm operation more energy efficient, NYSERDA says.
“Under this initiative, proposals for emerging technologies should be replicable and provide cost-effective energy efficiency improvements to farms in New York State,” the public benefit corporation said. “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.”
Agriculture covers approximately 25% of land use in the state, NYSERDA pointed out. “Clean energy is our future and it is critical we continue to identify new ways to harness these opportunities to power our farms,” New York State agriculture commissioner Richard A. Ball said.
This year alone, NYSERDA has offered $10 million for clean energy projects that reduce carbon emissions at commercial and industrial buildings, $15 million for installing and operating fuel cell systems, and $1 million for net zero energy performance in new buildings.