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Energy Newsbriefs Blog

This current awareness service is prepared by the WSU Energy Program Library with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy State Energy Program. This information is provided for energy professionals and interested members of the public to highlight recent energy-related news, articles, and reports that discuss energy efficiency, energy conservation, and renewable sources of energy in engineering and policy circles.


Category: Agriculture


Addressing the Energy-Intensive Marijuana Industry in Oregon

Energy Efficiency Markets, July 28, 2015, by Lisa Cohn.

"With recreational marijuana now legal in the state of Oregon, there’s growing interest in how to address the energy-intensive marijuana industry. Until the state works out the details of a law — effective July 1 — legalizing recreational marijuana, it is now only legal to grow medical marijuana in Oregon.  But there’s concern that once the industry gears up later this year, the growers will draw large amounts of energy. In fact, an article in a Portland paper, the Portland Business Journal, asked, 'Is it Time for LEED Weed?'"

Green Doesn’t Mean What it Used To in Today’s Utility Industry: How Utilities are Dealing with Legalized Marijuana

Northwest Public Power Association Bulletin, July 2015, by Lance Robertson. (Scroll of jump to page 26.)

"Utilities are looking at a number of issues, concerns, and opportunities, from the amount of electricity the cannabis industry uses to ensuring that the added power demand won’t reduce the reliability or safety of localized electric distribution systems. Many public utilities also are concerned that increased demand for electricity will force them to raise electric rates for all customers, while a handful of utilities see the emerging commercial cannabis industry as an opportunity to boost revenues lost due to the lingering effects of the Great Recession in the Pacific Northwest."

USDA Announces Restart of Biomass Crop Assistance Program for Renewable Energy

U.S. Department of Agriculture News Release, June 1, 2015.

"The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that incentives will resume this summer for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners interested in growing and harvesting biomass for renewable energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. BCAP provides financial assistance to establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility."

This Vertical Farm Will Provide Wyoming Residents with 100,000 lbs of Fresh Produce Each Year

Inhabit, Mar. 9, 2015, by Charley Cameron.

"A 30 foot by 150 foot sliver of land located next to a parking lot in Jackson, Wyoming is set to be transformed into a vertical farm that will produce up to 100,000 lbs of produce each year. Using 90 percent less water than conventional farming, and absolutely no pesticides, the three-story Vertical Harvest greenhouse will enable the cold, land-locked city to provide locally-grown produce for its residents all year round."

New Poultry Barn Ventilation System

Manure Manager, Jan./Feb. 2015, by Lilian Schaer

"An innovative minimum ventilation system for poultry barns is improving bird health and reducing energy costs for farmers in the process."

Energy Trust [OR] Lends a Hand with Irrigation Efficiency

Capital Press, Feb. 9, 2015, by Lacey Jarrell.

"More consistent water application [using variable frequency drives] can mean greater water and power savings for large- or small-scale farmers."

Building Sustainable Farms, Ranches and Communities: A Guide to Federal Programs....

U.S. Department of Agriculture and various other organizations, Oct. 2014.

"This guide is written for anyone seeking help from federal programs to foster sustainable and innovative initiatives in this country associated with agriculture and forestry. Sustainability is commonly understood to embrace the triple concepts of economic, environmental and social viability. Specifically, the guide provides information about program resources pertaining to economic development, farm loans, insurance and risk management, natural resources conservation and management; nutrition and consumer food access, renewable energy and energy conservation, research and outreach, and value added and marketing innovations."

Research Aims to Help Dairy Farmers Generate Sustainable Energy

Nevada Today, University of Nevada, Reno, Oct. 1, 2014, by Kirstin Swagman.

"A new, collaborative grant at the University of Nevada, Reno will further research into biomass conversion by developing a cost-effective process for large-scale dairy farmers to generate energy from manure.

The University's new grant, "Sun Grant: Power/Waste Biomass," totals more than $600,000 over two years, with the bulk of the funds coming from the U.S. Department of Agriculture."

Evaluating Farm Slurry Extends Life & Performance [Pumps]

Pumps & Systems, Sept. 2014, by Paul Davies.

"Pump manufacturers know that the engineering phrase “fit and forget” never holds true for rotating equipment. For all its reliability and longevity, a slurry pump that has been operating in a pit for several years will eventually fail. Several pumps can handle farming applications at a tenth of the initial cost for an application-specific slurry pump. However, replacing a cheaper, less effective pump every six months becomes a tiresome—and expensive—hassle for many farmers. This article features several examples of how selecting the right pump ensured worry-free operation in harsh pit service."

Digested Dairy Manure to High-End Potting Soil

BioCycle, July 2014, by Nora Goldstein.

"An anaerobic digester development company launched a bagged potting soil product to utilize digested dairy manure fibers and improve long-term success of facilities....when falling rates for renewable energy and the loss of the federal Investment Tax Credit grant hit at the same time."
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