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State looking to fund ag energy efficiency projects

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The Colorado Energy Office (CEO), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service, has released $750,000 in project assistance funds through the USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). The funding is available to Colorado agricultural irrigators, dairies, greenhouses, nurseries and cold storage facilities. The deadline to apply is March 31.

Applicants must be enrolled in the Colorado Agricultural Energy Efficiency program through CEO, and complete an energy audit to receive funding for projects. Interested participants can enroll in the CEO program through its online application. The Colorado Agricultural Energy Efficiency program provides free energy audits and technical support to Colorado producers, along with assistance in selecting and implementing cost-effective improvements that reduce energy use, environmental impacts and operating costs.

"Working with Colorado's agricultural partners, the Colorado Energy Office has built a turnkey approach for this important industry to achieve energy savings. The USDA funding gives program participants the ability to implement identified energy improvements and increase their profits," said Kathleen Staks, Executive Director of CEO.

The funds will help finance energy- and water-saving projects identified through CEO's program.

In 2015, CEO launched the Colorado Agricultural Energy Efficiency program to make achieving energy efficiency and renewable energy projects easy for agricultural producers. More than 100 producers have participated, and 20,000 MWh of potential electricity savings has been identified through the audits.

The program will expand to 200 producers within the next two years, and it is expected to generate more than $4.5 million in potential savings in five years.

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