ACRE awards grants for renewable energy projects
Fourteen grants totaling more than $620,000 have been awarded through the "Advancing Colorado's Renewable Energy" program.
ACRE is administered by the Colorado Agricultural Value Added Development Board which encourages and promotes business projects that add value to agricultural products, as well as agricultural energy-related projects.
"ACRE is a statewide effort to promote energy-related projects beneficial to Colorado's agriculture industry," said Tom Lipetzky, Markets Division Director at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. "The grants awarded by this project are an important step toward helping our agriculture industry to be a leading participant in the new energy economy."
Projects must in some way benefit or be tied to agricultural production or the utilization of agricultural land or water. Grants were awarded in three categories: feasibility studies, project participation and research.
Feasibility studies address the viability of establishing an agricultural energy-related project and may address the market for the product, engineering requirements, economic viability, environmental concerns, legal requirements, management, and other necessary study components. A maximum grant amount of $25,000 was awarded to three feasibility projects:
--Crowley County, to assess the feasibility of a Green Community Plan.
--Feedlot Biofuel, Crowley, Otero, Bent, Prowers, Baca, Kit Carson, and Morgan counties, to assess the feasibility of locating small ethanol plants in east-central and southeastern Colorado.
--KL Process Design Group, Grand County, to asses the feasibility of co-locating a cellulose-based ethanol facility with a wood pellet plant to process area beetle-kill pine.
Project participation grants are those where a satisfactory feasibility study has already been completed; funds can be used to assist with the purchase or lease of equipment, construction costs and land costs. A maximum of $100,000 was awarded to four projects:
--iCast, Jefferson County, to assist in the implementation of two pilot projects for Colorado farm-scale oil seed crushing and biodiesel production.
--Brink, Inc., Boulder County, to assist in the measurement and valuation of onsite wind resources at three Colorado livestock facilities.
--Colorado Corn Growers, Weld County, to assist in developing ethanol pump infrastructure in various rural Colorado locations.
--Nunatak Alternative Energy Solutions, Gunnison County, to develop year round solar water pumping for remote grazing locations.
Research grants into agricultural energy related topics and issues could receive up to $50,000 for a single research project. Seven research grants were awarded:
--Colorado Working Landscapes, Arapahoe County, to research ways that local communities can benefit from renewable energy projects and develop an action plan to address the issues.
--Golden Plains, Washington County, to evaluate renewable energy crop sequences for Northeastern Colorado Dryland farms.
--Flux Farm Foundation, Garfield County, to research a distribution network of biomass pyrolyzers to potentially generate on-farm bioenergy.
--iCast, Jefferson County, to research briquetting biomass ag waste products to produce energy.
--San Juan Bioenergy, Dolores County, to sample the analysis of Syngas from a biomass gasifier for performance.
--Stewart Environmental, Larimer County, to inventory available feedstock in Colorado for use in anaerobic digestion for biogas production.
--Synergistic Building Technologies and Cure Organic Farm, Boulder County, to research the potential of a new style of greenhouse capable of producing throughout the year with a close-to-zero carbon footprint.
"In all, grants were awarded to businesses spanning across 18 Colorado counties," continued Lipetzky. "This says a great deal about Colorado dedication to renewable energy."
The Colorado Agricultural Value Added Development Board was created to help facilitate the processing of agricultural products and commodities within the state and to serve as a resource for the state's agricultural industry. Administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, CAVAD was established in 2001 and is led by a board of seven individuals who are appointed by the state Legislature and the governor.