Maryland Program Brings Energy Efficiency to the Farm

Blog | September 30, 2010 - 11:11 am

 

One of five top-award winners of ACEEE’s States Stepping Forward awards project, the Maryland Statewide Farm Energy Audit Program impressed ACEEE and an expert panel of judges with comprehensive customer services and substantial energy and cost savings in a sector with unique energy efficiency needs. Learn more about this program and many more in the full report.

The Maryland Statewide Farm Energy Audit Program evolved from a pilot audit program to a model full-scale agricultural energy efficiency program, now offering audits, technical assistance, and financial assistance for Maryland agricultural producers. The program shows how prudent re-investment of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative carbon allowance proceeds into energy efficiency programs can lower energy costs and jumpstart advanced technological deployment across the state. To date, the program has saved 1,789 MWh, 27,189 gallons of propane, and 52,700 MMBtu of natural gas. The program has saved approximately $578,726 in energy costs for Maryland’s agricultural producers annually.

The involvement of state agencies, state offices of federal agencies, private industry, and nonprofit organizations shows what can be achieved when many areas of expertise come together to deliver a program. By working with branches of the USDA, Maryland Energy Administration is helping fulfill the agency’s energy goals while leveraging its support for a state energy program. This process of collaboration helps all parties involved address their energy efficiency mission, while also delivering a superior experience for the farmer.

Program information has reached nearly every agricultural producer in Maryland by leveraging the outreach support of the program partners. The program administrator, EnSave, has also directly reached out to equipment manufacturers, equipment dealers, agricultural community members, and farmers. Thus, the program has affected upstream, midstream, and downstream market actors.

The technical assistance available for custom measures helps producers interested in new or innovative technologies. The program also captures renewable energy interest at the time of the audit, which is then passed along to Maryland Energy Administration’s renewable energy program.

This program is easily transferable to other states, especially states that have access to auction funds from greenhouse gas allowances. By working with the USDA agencies, Maryland Energy Administration has tapped into a source that can help promote an agricultural program and also leverage funding. This program exemplifies how a program can have a local presence through the involvement of local and state organizations, while being managed by a contractor with national expertise in the area of program focus.

Photo credit: Sarah Jane Black