Post Content

Gerry Palano

Gerry Palano

Renewable Energy/Energy Efficiency Coordinator, Department of Agricultural Resources

View Gerry’s Complete Bio

Horse
From a business, as well as an environmental, perspective, many dairy farms across Massachusetts are now ”moo-ving” to become more sustainable through energy efficiency and clean renewable energy technologies. In fact, 17 dairy farms have implemented energy related projects through the Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) over the past three years alone.

DAR provides technical and financial assistance for these farms through a variety of programs, including our own Agricultural Energy Grant and the Massachusetts Farm Energy Program (MFEP), as well as a variety of state and federal energy programs and initiatives. These include the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center; the Mass Save® energy efficiency programs; USDA’s Rural Development, Natural Resource Conservation Service and Farm Service Agency programs; and federal tax incentives.

DAR’s technical specialists work with dairy farms towards the implementation of what we consider the best energy efficiency management practices. These practices include: refrigeration heat recovery (free heaters), milk plate coolers, variable speed vacuum pumps, energy efficient lighting, and high efficiency fan ventilation.

Best management practices guide for energy for dairy farms

DAR also works to promote renewable energy applications such as photovoltaics (PV) and wind turbines for electric generation; solar thermal and biomass for farm heating; and anaerobic digesters for comprehensive manure management and energy generation. For the latter, it is the dairy farm’s own resources (cow patties) that are helping contribute toward the farm’s energy goals!

Many farms have incorporated some type of applicable energy efficiency improvement, while some have installed renewable energy technologies. Though PV, wind, and biomass are the more common applications, we soon will see our state’s first anaerobic digesters in operation! DAR contributed over $325,000 in grant funding for these type of dairy projects, and in conjunction with our MFEP, has helped farms obtain the balance of funding needed to complete these projects by leveraging matching funding from other sources.

Energy savings vary by project; overall, each farm typically will achieve anywhere between 15 to 30 percent energy and dollar savings as a result of their implementation. Each project also reduces farm operations’ greenhouse gas emissions, providing both more energy and environmentally sustainable dairy farm operations in our Commonwealth.

Information about implementing an energy efficiency or renewable energy project on your dairy farm 

This year’s Agricultural Energy Grant Program funding opportunities

Three photos with captions are from Mayval Dairy Farm, Easthampton Solar thermal evacuated tube caption photo is Appleton Farm, Hamilton Photo dated 1.11.11 is a roof-mounted PV project at Chase Hill farm, Warwick Photo dated 3.16.11 is a roof mounted PV project at Mapleline Farm, Hadley.

5803988323_40bfd43231[1]
5803988465_81fa60c90c[1]
5803988533_2659c97859[1]
5804545914_d19a169150[1]
5804545984_55fb3cb73f[1]

Written By:

Tags: ,

Recent Posts

New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau posted on Dec 17

New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau

The 335 acre Walden Pond State Reservation annually attracts 500,000 people from all over the world, who journey there not just for recreation but for inspiration. Those visitors will soon have another amenity to enjoy. Earlier this month, Governor Deval Patrick joined community leaders, other public officials, environmentalists and project partners to break ground on the Department of Conservation and Recreation’s new $8 million Walden Pond Visitor Center, designed to incorporate a wide-range of sustainable materials and technologies.

Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake) posted on Dec 10

Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)

The United States was created from thirteen colonies, which suggests that thirteen is a lucky number. Massachusetts just added another lucky thirteen. A new round of Green Communities – you guessed it, thirteen of them – brings the total number of cities and towns that   …Continue Reading Thirteen New Green Communities: Cause for Celebration (With Cake)

How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System? posted on Dec 4

How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?

How many municipal inspections does it take to install a residential solar photovoltaic (PV) system? Two is the magic number, however it can often be difficult to hit. In order for a solar customer to install an array, their system must obtain a building and   …Continue Reading How Many Inspections Does It Take To Install A Solar System?