Province announces funding for ag energy projects

Over the next four years, $81 million will be spent for solar systems, 
low-pressure irrigation, and energy efficiency upgrades

The details are still being worked out, but federal cash for curbing carbon emissions is beginning to flow.

Alberta’s provincial government is directing some of its share of Ottawa’s $1-billion Low Carbon Economy Fund towards the agriculture and agri-food sectors.

The province says that over the next four years, $81 million will go towards four programs for farms and ag processing: installing solar panels on farms; converting high-pressure irrigation systems to low-pressure ones; and a pair of energy efficiency programs (one for big agri-processors, and another for small agri-processors and farmers).

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“Last year, the government of Alberta provided $10 million to agriculture energy efficiency programs,” the province said in a news release. “There were nearly twice as many applicants as projects that were funded. This new funding will allow eligible projects that didn’t receive funding last year to access funds, as well as allowing new applicants to apply under the expanded programs.”

The On-Farm Solar Photovoltaics program offers 75 cents per watt for projects of 100 kilowatts or less, and 56 cents per watt for installations that are between 100 and 150 watts. It is now accepting applications for projects that were completed after April 15, 2017 (those initiated before that date aren’t eligible). For more info, go to the Alberta Agriculture website.

The irrigation program aims to improve the efficiency of both energy and water use. It will cover 40 per cent of the costs (up to $4,000) for certain projects, such as variable-rate irrigation system components, and up to $15,000 for replacing a high-pressure centre pivot system with a low-pressure centre pivot one.

Applications for the energy efficiency programs are being finalized and will be available at www.agriculture.alberta.ca.

The Low Carbon Economy Fund is part of the federal Liberals’ carbon emission plan that will also require provinces to have some sort of a carbon tax by the end of the year.

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