USDA has launched a greatly expanded version of its energy website. "The intent is to help people find energy-efficiency solutions, says Harry Baumes, director of UASDA's Office of Energy Policy and New Uses. "We can supply much more information to help farmers make better decisions regarding energy production and efficiency in agriculture."
Agriculture is changing, he adds, particularly in the renewable energy sector. "It's already becoming a significant player in solutions for non-agricultural industries."
Baumes cited food waste recycling via on-farm methane digesters as one example. Another is biodiesel jet fuel. "Even five years ago, the private sector was out there, but struggling. But that changed with the strategy to subsidize biofuel for national security and defense concerns."
Some of the enhanced features of USDA's Energy Web include:
The website offers several online tools, including Energy Investment Maps, Renewable Energy Tool, Energy Matrix, Investment Projects Reports, plus state links to energy resources. Here's a quick summary of the main ones:
Energy Investment Maps: They contain information regarding programs that provide assistance to renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. Interactive maps display investment location, type of energy investment, amount of assistance provided and the administering USDA program. The aim is to help users understand where USDA is providing investment support for renewable and sustainable energy initiatives across the United States. You can research what's going on in your state or county.
Renewable Energy Tool: It's a work in progress, says Baum. Its vision is to identify "renewable energy opportunities" by providing stakeholders access to agro-, economic, socio-, and technical data and information resources relevant to evaluating potential opportunities. These opportunities range across the entire supply chain: from feedstock production, to bioenergy production, bioenergy use, and linkages between feedstock production, bioenergy production and use.
Energy Matrix: This navigational aide helps you search for alternative and affordable energy solutions, funding for projects, available programs and program information, or research and development.
So why isn't this website a part of the U.S. Department of Energy? "We're primarily focused on feedstock development," answers Baum.
Check out the website at: energy