Director of Agricultural Technical Assistance, Department of Agricultural Resources
It is pretty remarkable how much interest the agricultural sector has in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. When we first launched our Agricultural Environmental Enhancement Program back in 1999, the focus was on protecting water quality by providing funding to farmers to fence animals out of rivers and streams. Over the years, as our understanding of the linkage between energy and water resource protection evolved, so too did our attention to funding renewable energy projects on farms.
From our first solar powered irrigation pump on a farm on Cape Cod, the program has since helped install PVs and Wind Turbines on multiple farms. The most popular type of project funded over the past few years is the automated irrigation system on cranberry bogs. This simple, elegant, clever system integrates renewable energy with energy conservation and efficient water management. Using solar powered computers to manage the operation of irrigation pumps by monitoring moisture levels and temperature, the system reduces fuel use and ensures more efficient application of irrigation water.
The Department of Agricultural Resources recently added an Ag-Energy grant to its portfolio of funding programs. With the largest amount of funding to date of $475,000 in tow, our Renewable Energy Specialist and Energy Smarts blogger Gerry Palano is heading out on the road with some of his colleagues over the next few weeks to present the details of this grant program to farmers. Farmers are eligible to apply for up to $30,000 for energy efficiency or renewable energy systems on their farms. Next dates for the MDAR grants road show, which will include information about our new grant program for beginning farmers, are:
Wednesday May 12, 6 PM Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, Weiss Conference Center, Room 102, 75 North Drive, Westborough; Directions: http://www.masstech.org/AgencyOverview/Directions.htm
Thursday, May 20, 2010 6 PM UMass Cranberry Station, 1 State Bog Road, Wareham
If you can't attend but still want to learn more about these programs, visit http://www.mass.gov/agr/programs/index.htm
Power Down and Save Up posted on Dec 23
Between Thanksgiving and the cusp of a new year, many of us feel the festive energy. Burning lots of energy seems to go along with celebrating – think of all those holiday lights and cookies we bake. But that extra energy use also gives everyone …Continue Reading Power Down and Save Up
New Walden Pond Visitor Center Would Inspire Even Thoreau posted on Dec 17
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
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)