Governor Cuomo Announces Initiatives to Help NY Dairy Farmers

Incentive amounts for farmers to install equipment on their farms that turns organic waste produced by cows into electricity are doubled...

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Via Post Star News, 2/1/13

Saugerties, NY — Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced two programs that will help dairy farmers in New York expand their businesses, increase profitability and reduce their energy costs. These initiatives were the result of recommendations advanced at Governor Cuomo’s Yogurt Summit, which convened last summer to hear ideas from industry leaders, farmers and other stakeholders to ensure that the yogurt industry continues to grow and create jobs in New York.

“Last summer, we heard from stakeholders on how the State can help the dairy industry and yogurt producers grow and create jobs in New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “As a result of our ongoing dialogue, the State is providing assistance to the industry through these two programs, which will help dairy farmers lower their energy costs and provide opportunities to help expand their production and efficiency. We want to make sure that the dairy and yogurt business stays and flourishes in New York.”

Anaerobic Digester Biogas-to-Electricity Program (ADG)

The Governor announced that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will double the maximum incentive amount from $1 million to up to $2 million per installation for farmers to install equipment on their farms that turns organic waste produced by cows into electricity.

At the Yogurt Summit, the State committed to working with the dairy and yogurt industries to lower energy costs by increasing and incentivizing the construction and use of anaerobic digesters which turn waste produced on the farm into energy that can be used by the farmers. This allows farmers to more easily manage the large amount of waste produced by cows and to also save money on energy costs by turning that waste into a renewable source of energy.

Specifically, the Anaerobic Digester Biogas to Electricity (ADG) program provides incentives for electricity production systems installed at farms and other businesses that treat organic waste. Biogas-to-power technology has several steps, which include pumping dairy manure and other organic wastes into digestion tanks where bacteria break down the waste, creating a methane-based biogas. The gas is burned in engines to produce electricity. By producing electricity onsite, the digesters help offset a farm’s electricity purchases from their utility and reduce their energy costs.

The increased amount in incentive awards to up to $2 million for anaerobic digesters was approved by the Public Service Commission at its monthly meeting earlier this month and is funded through the Renewable Portfolio Standard. To date, the ADG program has supported the development of 18 projects now in operation, and an additional 17 projects in the design stage have applied for incentives. The increased cap will make more proposed anaerobic digester projects viable and spur demand for this important resource.

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