(L-R) Paul Flesher, president of Crust Craft Inc in Edmonton talks with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry minister Oneil Carlier about the $81 million in funding for expanded energy efficiency programs for the entire ag sector. Image: Government of Alberta

Alberta earmarks $81 million to help agriculture improve energy efficiency

Four-year funding arrangement to be spread out equally over four areas of agriculture

The province is hoping to continue the energy efficiency trend it started last year.

Oneil Carlier, Alberta Agriculture and Forestry minister, took to the podium at an Edmonton agri-processor on Jan. 29 to announce the provincial government will spend $81 million over the next four years to help farmers, ranchers and agri-businesses improve energy efficiency for their operations.

The money, $67 million from the province and $14 million from the federal government, will be split equally over the time frame and then further split equally between the four provincial programs — farm energy and agri-processing (primary producers and small processors), on-farm solar PV, irrigation efficiency and energy savings for agri-processors (large processors).

Last year, Alberta put together $10 million for energy efficiency programs for agricultural operations, a program that wound up being over-subscribed.

“The energy efficiency programs last year were very popular, to the point where more than 300 applications were left waiting,” said Carlier during the press conference held at Crust Craft, a wholesale bakery in Edmonton.

“It’s a direct investment in making agriculture better, helping reduce the carbon footprint and ensuring Alberta agri-processors remain competitive.”

Carlier feels the benefits will assist both small and large agri-processors lower costs and expand the value chain through investment, plus help producers continue to adapt to the changing environment through funding solar projects and improved irrigation projects.

“Alberta’s agriculture sector has long been at the forefront of adopting innovative new practices and enhancing environmental stewardship. That’s why we have developed these efficiency programs to meet the demand – improving the sustainability of agricultural operations, addressing climate change and reducing costs to help the sector remain competitive in the global marketplace,” he stated.

Carlier feels the program will be popular.

Alberta’s farm energy programs:

On-Farm Energy Management Program helps producers buy equipment to improve energy efficiency or monitor energy consumption, such as lighting, pumps, meters, boilers, heaters and low-energy, livestock-watering fountains.

On-Farm Solar PV Program helps producers by grid-connected solar panel systems that can be used to generate electricity and reduce emissions on farms.

Irrigation Efficiency Program helps producers invest in new or upgraded low-pressure irrigation equipment to improve water efficiency and reduce energy use.

Accelerating Innovation Program

• Helps agricultural societies, industry organizations and producer groups collaborate on proof-of-concept and commercialization of new products, new processes or new business practices in Alberta.

• Assists primary producers, agri-processors and other for-profit companies with the early adoption of new technologies or practices that have the potential for sector-wide impact.

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