By Justin Seward
Vern Steinborn is contracted out of Lethbridge to the SouthGrow Regional Initiative to promote energy efficiency programming,such as the Farm Energy and Agri-Processing for producers.
He spoke about the program in Bow Island recently, which shares the cost with the agriculture and agri-processing sector on energy efficiency investments.
It is designed to encourage energy management which will result in cost savings, energy conservation and reduced greenhouse gas.
“It’s basically promoting energy efficiency, (and) lessening the carbon footprint for Alberta farmers,” said Steinborn.
“In the long run, ultimately fuel fossils are getting phased out and within that, find renewable energies and use them to better circumstances or abilities that we have. They’re going to cost more, so our electricity is going to cost more in the future. Gas is already costing us more, natural gas is fairly stable right now but you never know with utility companies what’s going to happen. It’s going to save them money in the long run because if they can cut their energy usage, for example LED lighting, less than half the cost of energy use with the same amount of lighting, if not better lighting.”
When he spoke to farmers, they said there has been a substantial cost savings on variable frequency drives on irrigation because the motor is not be driven at full capacity.
In other areas, farmers can save on with better insulation in the shops and barns, the less energy will be used to heat the buildings. Wall insulation that is greater than or equal to R25 will have a cost share level of $0.40/ft2 wall area or an R35 will be around $0.80/ft2 wall area.
“Any energy savings is money in your pocket,” he said.
Lighting that is less than 30 Watts and has an efficacy (Im/W), with a great than or equal 85 has a cost share of 50 per cent and can be paid back in between a quarter to a half a year on energy savings alone with the program money in place, that money would be coming back to the farmer.
Other cost savings included ventilation,heating and refrigeration, as well as retrofit information.
The grant funding is $250,000 an applicant per year and can have multiple applications submitted. It’s in place from 2018-2020 for producers.
More information can be found at www1.agric.gov.ab.ca. or by calling Steinborn at (403) 894-0050.