Last year, the Colorado Energy Office invested $240,000 in funding from the US Department of Energy’s State Energy Program (SEP) to help reduce the dairy industry’s electricity demand.
Through the Colorado Dairy and Irrigation Efficiency Pilot, eight dairies received a free energy audit and energy-saving recommendations. If the farms followed the recommendations, the DOE covered 75 percent of the retrofitting costs — up to $25,000 for each farm. All eight dairies implemented the recommended improvements, saving an estimated 3 million British thermal units (Btu) as a result.
Cottonwood Dairy, a 32-year-old facility in Fort Lupton, Colorado, saved more than 25 percent in monthly electricity costs largely due to the pilot. The dairy installed a plate cooler, which greatly enhanced the energy efficiency of its milk cooling process. Water heating, space heating and lighting upgrades were also made at the facility.
The Colorado Dairy and Irrigation Efficiency Pilot expanded statewide in March. The Colorado Energy Office expects the initiative to save 10 million kWh of electricity over three years. In this new phase, the US Department of Agriculture helps dairies with the cost of recommended retrofits.
The dairy industry joins a group of sectors in Colorado, including wastewater treatment and sustainable transportation, that have worked with the DOE’s SEP to develop initiatives for advancing clean energy and energy efficiency.
The Vermont dairy industry is also taking advantage of state energy efficiency programs. Energy efficiency efforts at Ehrmann Commonwealth Dairy will achieve an estimated $2.1 million in lifetime savings.
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