Dairy Farm Energy Management Handbook

Offered by the Wis. Dept. of Agriculture, Trade & Consumer Protection (WDATCP), this comprehensive 51-page pdf publication (available on line or as a downloadable pdf) offers an excellent overview about better ways to manage energy on the dairy farm.

It covers a wide range of subjects, from farm energy audits, importance of properly installed and well-maintained wiring, wiring safety, tips on equipment operation and management and maintenance checklists.

It also offers a wide variety of rsources, publications and links to pertinent web sites.

The publication was co-sponsored by the Rural Energy Management Council (REMC).

View on the web

Or download the report. . .

Farmers can save
big money on fuel

The Alberta Agriculture, Food & Rural Development offers this 4-page publication with some good, down-to-earth tips on conserving fuel.

The publciation was developed by engineers with the AgTech Centre within the agency. You can dowload the publication here as a pdf. Click here . . .


Economic benefits
of energy efficiency, solar energy in Pennsylvania explained in major report

Energy efficiency improvements can save Pennsylvania consumers nearly $5 billion each year on energy bills and help create 27,000 new, local jobs by 2025, according to an analysis released on May 1, 2009 by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

The ACEEE is an independent, nonprofit research group based in Washington, D.C.

The study, which was led by ACEEE with support from a team of national energy experts, examines the potential for greater energy efficiency, demand response, and onsite solar energy use in Pennsylvania.

The study also suggests a suite of policies to tap into the Commonwealth's energy savings potential and reap substantial economic benefits.

Potential for Energy Efficiency, Demand Response, and Onsite Solar Energy in Pennsylvania is available for free download at:

Or, a hard copy can be purchased for $65 plus $5 postage and handling from:

ACEEE Publications, 529 14th St, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, D.C. 20045.

Ph: 202-507-4000
Fax: 202-429-2248


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Strategies for managing energy-related
grain drying costs

This two-page technical data sheet is offered by the Wisconsin Focus on Energy Program.

The data sheet provides a quick and accurate overview about various items to consider in doing a better job in conserving energy used in grain drying.

Read the Technical Sheet. . .

The importance
of Farm Energy Audits

This excellent report by North Dakota State University offers a good overview about how to approach on-farm energy audits, as well as tips abouut saving energy.

Audits are the most important first step to take in developing a cohesive and workable energy management plan.

Additional resource information contacts are also included.

Read the Farm Energy Audit

State-by-state scorecard
on energy efficiency

Washington, D.C. (October 13, 2010)—Even as Congress failed to take major action on climate and energy legislation in 2010, states across the United States achieved major new strides in energy efficiency, according to the 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard from the nonprofit and independent American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

Among the major state advances highlighted in the fourth edition of the ACEEE Scorecard are: a near doubling of state energy efficiency budgets from 2007 spending levels; the adoption or active consideration by over half the states of Energy Efficiency Resource Standards (EERS) that establish long-term, fixed efficiency savings targets; and a one-year doubling of the number of states that have either adopted or have made significant progress toward the adoption of the latest energy-saving building codes for homes and commercial properties.

Link to: ACEEE 2010 State Energy Efficiency Scorecard






USDA awards $6.9 million for renewable energy
and energy efficiency projects

Funding will help rural farmers and business owners
save energy and improve operations

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced in late July 2008 that 27 individuals and businesses in seven states were selected to receive $6.9 million in loans and grants for renewable energy systems or to increase energy efficiency in farm and business operations.

The funds are provided under USDA Rural Development's Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvements Program.

"The Bush administration is committed to providing more energy from within our nation's borders, and these loan and grant combinations announced today will help accomplish this important goal," Schafer said.

The funding will support a variety of energy-production and energy-saving efforts. For example, Bach Digester LLC in Dorchester, Wis., will receive $800,000 in loans and grants to construct an anaerobic digester on a dairy farm. The gas produced from this digester will be used to power a 250 kW generator onsite and will produce 2,518,500 kWh/year.

In Falls, Vt., Daniel Thomas Burns will use a $17,162 loan/grant package to buy and install energy efficient reverse osmosis equipment, purchase a 1,500-gallon storage tank needed to wash the unit, and modify electrical and plumbing systems for a maple syrup business in Sheldon, Vt.

Conrad Brothers, in Rose Hill, Iowa, will receive a combination package of $47,472 to replace two 20-plus-year-old dryers with a new Grain Systems (GSI) dryer, and a wet holding tank. This project is expected to provide energy savings up to 51.47 percent.

Funding of individual recipients is contingent upon their meeting the conditions of the award agreement. A complete list of the selected projects is below.

The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency loan and grant program was established under Section 9006 of the 2002 Farm Bill to encourage agricultural producers and rural small businesses to install renewable energy systems and energy efficient improvements.

The program's funding can support a wide range of technologies encompassing biomass (including anaerobic digesters), geothermal, hydrogen, solar, and wind energy, as well as energy efficiency improvements.

USDA Rural Development's mission is to increase economic opportunity and improve the quality of life for rural residents. Rural Development has invested more than $90 billion since 2001 for equity and technical assistance to finance and foster growth in homeownership, business development, and critical community and technology infrastructure.

More than 1.7 million jobs have been created or saved through these investments. Further information on rural programs is available at a local USDA Rural Development office or by visiting USDA's web site at:

Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Loans and Grants Recipient State Grant Amounts and Loan Amounts
Recipient State Grant Amount Loan Amount
Lofstrom, Steven IA $26,557 $26,557
Rickles, Todd IA $17,679 $17,679
Steinfeldt, Charles IA $49,987 $49,987
Mead, Tom IA $31,920 $31,920
J & J Petersen, Inc. IA $37,790 $37,790
Ed Hosch & Sons, Inc. IA $33,844 $33,844
Conrad Brothers IA $23,736 $23,736
Mike Pratt IL $49,975 $49,975
Zechiel, Dean IN $38,374 $38,374
Popowski, John MN $20,019 $20,019
Olsen, Larry P MN $43,750 $43,750
Biehn, Timothy MN $49,920 $49,920
Jacobson, Corey MN $30,624 $30,624
Wambeke, John MN $19,974 $15,000
Preuss, Dennis MN $15,462 $15,462
Joel Stola Farms, Inc. MN $36,062 $36,062
Schroeder Brothers, Inc. MN $45,856 $45,856
Jim Sallstrom Farms, Inc. MN $43,945 $43,945
Sara Jane Franck OH $12,435 $12,435
Daniel Thomas Burns VT $8,581 $8,581
Lehouillier Maple Orchard VT $8,486 $8,486
Chaput Family Farms VT $458,147 $458,147
Westminster Energy Group LLC VT $358,993 $348,268
Limlaw's Pulpwood, Inc. VT $49,830 $49,830
Bach Digester LLC WI $400,000 $400,000
Grotequt Dairy Farm WI $378,437 $878,000
Mapleleaf Dairy, Inc. WI $500,000 $1,322,025
Total   $2,790,383 $4,096,272


Proposed House legislation could reduce energy use
by 10% nationally, doubling savings from 2007 Act

Washington, D.C. –– Pending federal energy efficiency provisions could reduce U.S. energy use by 10.6 quadrillion Btu's, about 10% of projected U.S. energy use in 2020, according to a new analysis released today by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

These energy efficiency savings are more than the entire current energy use of the state of California, and are larger than the annual energy use of 49 of the 50 states.

These savings are more than triple those of 2005 energy legislation and about double those of 2007 energy legislation, and in turn will avoid about 661 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020, the equivalent of taking 110 million cars off the road for a year.
The analysis examines the energy efficiency provisions in the "discussion draft" of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), authored by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA).

This bill includes a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions as well as a cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases..
"These energy efficiency savings are very substantial and will go a long way towards paying the cost of the cap-and-trade program in the bill," noted Steven Nadel, ACEEE's Executive Director. "Our analyses indicate that energy efficiency policies are a key cost-control element for climate change legislation because the less energy we need, the fewer new power plants we need, and the fewer existing power plants that need to be upgraded."
More than half of the savings in the bill comes from the inclusion of a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which would require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020.

This provision alone will create 222,000 net jobs and prevent 262 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and is a key policy for achieving the savings possible from energy efficiency.
The bill also includes major savings from a number of other programs, including:

According to ACEEE, there are a number of ways the bill could be improved to maximize efficiency savings.

First, the current draft of the bill does not address allocation of income from sales of emissions allowances.

"It is important that some of these allowances are invested in energy efficiency, including new programs authorized in the bill, as well as funding for state and utility-based efficiency programs," said Rachel Gold, the principal analyst on this project.

Second, the bill should include a provision to improve industrial energy efficiency similar to S. 661, Restoring America's Manufacturing Leadership through Energy Efficiency.

To complement the industrial centers provision in S. 661, the bill should also establish a network of Building Training and Assessment Centers.

In addition, the bill could further maximize savings and help with energy costs in low-income housing by including a provision to help fund retrofits to multifamily housing.
Although these potential savings are dramatic, there are many additional cost-effective efficiency opportunities available.

ACEEE's studies of energy efficiency's potential indicate that current technologies can cost-effectively save 25-30% of total energy use, and that new technologies could increase the available cost-effective savings.
Details on ACEEE's analyses of the House discussion draft can be found at 


ACORE offers members details about key provisions
of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

Washington D.C., April 15, 2009 –– The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) has launched a new section of its website to assist member renewable energy organizations to understand the provisions of the recently-enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which pertain to renewable energy investment and production.

The new ACORE Implementation website is available to ACORE members only.  

The breakdown of the legislation will help renewable energy companies to expand renewable energy development and to find funding from the federal government for renewable energy projects.

The pages, part of the ACORE Member Center, are located at and provide section-by-section breakdowns of the major renewable energy provisions of the ARRA, links to the actual statutes, as well as to relevant governmental agencies and departments.

The site was developed by ACORE to educate its more than 600 members about the new business opportunities and funding assistance that have been made available with the enactment of the ARRA.

“Through the American Recovery and Advancement Act, the U.S. government has made clear its commitment to advance renewable energy solutions,” said ACORE President Michael Eckhart.

“The ARRA has major implications for companies that are financing or building renewable energy products and services. Our industry has been called upon to help resolve the current economic crisis through the ramping-up of home-grown, clean, renewable energy production, and the creation of a new force of ‘green-collar workers’ to implement these initiatives.”

PLAN B efficiency and conservation measures
drop energy demand by 2020

By Lester R. Brown / Earth Policy Institute

Projections from the International Energy Agency show global energy demand growing by close to 30 percent by 2020, setting the stage for massive growth in the carbon dioxide emissions that are warming our planet.

But dramatically ramping up energy efficiency would allow the world to not only avoid growth in energy demand but actually reduce global demand to below 2006 levels by 2020.

We can reduce the amount of energy we use by preventing the waste of heat and electricity in buildings and industrial processes and by switching to efficient lighting and appliances.

We can also save an enormous amount of energy by restructuring the transportation sector. Many of the needed energy efficiency measures can be enacted relatively quickly and pay for themselves.

Buildings are responsible for a large share of global electricity consumption and raw materials use. In the United States, buildings account for 70 percent of electricity use and close to 40 percent of total CO2 emissions.

Retrofitting existing buildings with better insulation and more-efficient appliances can cut energy use by 20 to 50 percent.

A U.S.-based group of forward-thinking architects and engineers has set forth the Architecture 2030 Challenge, with the goal of reducing fossil fuel use in new buildings 80 percent by 2020 on the way to going entirely carbon-neutral by 2030.

Lighting also offers great opportunities for improving efficiency. Much of the energy we use for lighting today is wasted as heat rather than used for illumination, so switching to more-efficient lighting can have a quick payback.

Swapping out conventional light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), for example, can cut energy use by 75 percent, saving money on electric bills. And CFLs last up to 10 times as long.

The energy saved by replacing one conventional incandescent 100-watt bulb with a CFL over its lifetime is enough to drive a Toyota Prius hybrid from New York to San Francisco.

If everyone around the world made the switch and turned to high-efficiency home, office, industrial, and street lighting, total world electricity use would fall by 12 percent, equivalent to the output of 705 coal-fired power plants.

Similar efficiency gains can be realized with household appliances. Take refrigerators, for instance. The average refrigerator in Europe uses about half the electricity of one in the United States. Beyond that, the most efficient refrigerators on the market use one fourth as much electricity as the European average.

Japan’s Top Runner Program takes the most efficient appliances on the market today and uses them to set the efficiency standards for tomorrow.

Between 1997–98 and 2004–05, this program helped Japan boost the efficiency of refrigerators by 55 percent, air conditioners by close to 68 percent, and computers by 99 percent. This sort of program, which continuously encourages technological advancements, can serve as a model for the rest of the world.

Even the electricity drawn by appliances in “standby” mode, when they are not actively turned on, currently adds up to as much as 10 percent of total residential electricity consumption. Industry standards, like South Korea’s 1-watt standby limit for many appliances that will go into effect by 2010, push manufacturers toward energy-efficient design.

Consumers can eliminate unnecessary electricity drain by unplugging electronics or by using improved “smart” power strips to stop electricity flow to appliances that are not in use.

Within the industrial sector, retooling the manufacture of the carbon emissions heavyweight--chemicals and petrochemicals (including plastics, fertilizers, and detergents), steel, and cement--offers major opportunities to curb energy demand.

Recycling plastics and producing them more efficiently could cut petrochemical energy use by close to one third. More than 1 billion tons of steel are produced each year to be used in automobiles, household appliances, construction, and other products.

Adopting the most-efficient blast furnaces and boosting recycling can cut energy use in this industry by close to 40 percent. For cement, the biggest gains can come from China, which produces close to half of the world’s 2.3 billion ton output--more than the next 20 countries combined.

Just shifting to the most efficient dry kiln technologies, as used in Japan, could cut global energy use in the cement sector by more than 40 percent.

Well-designed transportation systems also play a prominent role in increasing energy efficiency. The car-dominated systems that at first offered mobility now more frequently yield congestion and pollution.

Restructuring urban transportation systems around rail, light rail, and bus rapid transit (with designated lanes for buses), while making safety and accessibility for pedestrians and bicyclists a priority, not only deals with the problems created by the “car-is-king” mentality, it also saves energy.

Much of the energy savings in the transport sector come from electrifying rail systems and short-distance road travel, while turning away from petroleum products and toward renewable sources of energy. Mass transit is key. Intercity high-speed rail lines, as seen in Japan and Europe, can move people quickly and energy-efficiently, reducing car and air travel.

For personal vehicles, improved fuel economy is key. Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) running primarily on emissions-free electricity generated by the wind and the sun would allow for low-carbon short-distance car trips.

While most commuting and errands could be done solely on battery power, a backup fuel tank would allow for longer trips. Among the companies planning to come to market with a PHEV in the next several years are Toyota, General Motors, Ford, and Nissan.

Combining a shift to PHEVs with widespread wind farm construction to supply electricity would greatly reduce oil consumption and carbon emissions and would allow drivers to recharge batteries with renewable electricity at a cost equivalent of less than $1 per gallon of gasoline.

Overall, investing in energy efficiency to offset increasing energy demand is often cheaper than expanding the energy supply to meet that demand. Efficiency investments typically yield a high rate of return and can help fight climate change by avoiding additional CO2 emissions.

In stark contrast to the International Energy Agency’s projected 30 percent growth in demand, realizing the Plan B (a book published by Earth Policy Institute) efficiency measures alone would lead to a 6 percent decline in global primary energy demand from 2006 levels by 2020.

Beyond these productivity gains, because producing power from fossil fuels generates large amounts of waste heat (and wasted heat equals wasted energy), shifting from fossil fuels to renewables, another key step toward stabilizing climate, would further reduce primary energy demand in the Plan B energy economy.

Adapted from Lester R. Brown, Janet Larsen, Jonathan G. Dorn, and Frances C. Moore, Time for Plan B: Cutting Carbon Emissions 80 Percent by 2020 (Earth Policy Institute: July 2, 2008). Web: