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Helping with energy-saving projects in Ontario


September 23, 2013
By Katie Duncan OSCIA

Sept. 23, 2013, Guelph, Ont. – Farming Power, a new incentive program
for farmers in the Greenbelt area of Ontario, is gaining momentum since
being introduced this the summer.

Sept. 23, 2013, Guelph, Ont. – Farming Power, a new incentive program for farmers in the Greenbelt area of Ontario, is gaining momentum since being introduced this the summer.

Delivered by the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association (OSCIA), Farming Power offers significant cost-share for adopting energy-saving technologies in farm buildings.

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The program emphasizes three best management practices, or BMPs: lighting projects, refrigeration and cooling projects (milk plate coolers, cooling compressors and free cooling), and heating upgrades.

Opportunities exist in a number of agriculture sectors including dairy, poultry, swine, greenhouses, fruit and vegetable storage, among others.

ENVIRONMENTAL FARM PLAN PREREQUISITE

Farmers can apply for cost-share funding provided they have an Environmental Farm Plan (EFP), live in the Greenbelt and have a Farm Business Registration Number (FBRN).

Farmers across many sectors are taking notice. The application process requires participants to work with an energy expert to get an accurate estimation of just how much energy can potentially be saved by retrofitting old technology with new.

Applications received to date verify the savings can be significant. One project proving popular with a few horticulture operations is the replacement of cooling compressors. One grower in Niagara measured a 26 per cent savings in energy use.

A poultry producer elsewhere in the Greenbelt is taking advantage of the opportunities available through Farming Power to retrofit light fixtures in barns. By switching from incandescent to LED lighting, some 91 per cent energy savings is anticipated.

COST-SHARING OF UP TO 50 PER CENT

The innovative program design sets cost-share levels at 30, 40 or 50 per cent, depending on the level of energy saved. Up to $5,000 is available within each BMP, with a maximum of up to $10,000 per farm business.

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation was created in 2005 to undertake initiatives to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect and grow natural features (see www.greenbelt.ca).

“The Greenbelt is home to more than 5,000 farms that grow and produce everything from peaches to wine, cheese to carrots,” said Burkhard Mausberg, CEO of the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation.

“Through our support for the Farming Power program, we are supporting the farmers who help to preserve our agricultural lands, ensuring we have fresh local foods for generations to come.”

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation was created in 2005 to undertake initiatives to help keep farmers successful, strengthen local economies, and protect and grow natural features (see www.greenbelt.ca). The Greenbelt contains almost one million acres of farmland including specialty crop areas in the Niagara and the Holland Marsh.

The Greenbelt contains almost one million acres of farmland including specialty crop areas in the Niagara and the Holland Marsh.

NEW CONCEPT WITH INCENTIVE PROGRAM DESIGN

According to Christine Schmalz, OSCIA senior environmental programs coordinator, “the generous support from the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation is helping to boost on-farm adoption of energy-saving practices and allows OSCIA to test the merit of a new concept in incentive program design.”

Farm businesses interested in applying for Farming Power should act quickly: the program is available for 2013 only.

Click here for more information and to access the application and all of the supplementary project forms.


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