ACRE doles out Colorado renewable energy grants

By Bryan Sims | January 18, 2011

The Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy program awarded 15 grants totaling more than $600,000 in an effort to spur additional instate renewable energy development. Administered by the Colorado Agricultural Value Added Development Board, ACRE specifically encourages and promotes business projects that add value to agricultural products, as well as agricultural energy-related projects.

To meet eligibility requirements, projects must in some way benefit or be tied to agricultural production or the utilization of agricultural land or water. Grants were awarded in three categories: feasibility studies, project participation and research. Of the 15 total grants, four specifically went to projects focused on biodiesel development.

“ACRE is a statewide effort to promote energy-related projects beneficial to Colorado’s agriculture industry,” said Tom Lipetzky, chief financial officer at the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “The grants awarded by this project are an important step toward helping our agriculture industry to be a leading participant in the new energy economy.”

Feasibility studies address the viability of establishing an agricultural energy-related project and may address the market for the product, engineering requirements, economic viability, environmental concerns, legal requirements, management and other necessary study components. A maximum grant amount of $25,000 was awarded to a total of seven feasibility projects. Two of the seven feasibility study grant recipients specifically addressed biodiesel as their primary focus. Boulder County was awarded $24,500 to develop a local biodiesel supply chain in the county, and Yuma Conservation District was awarded $20,870 to assess the feasibility of a northeastern Colorado biodiesel facility.

Project participation grants are those where a satisfactory feasibility study has already been completed. Funds can be used to assist with the purchase or lease of equipment, construction costs and land costs. A maximum of $100,000 was awarded to a total of three projects, with one directly focused on biodiesel development; RMSE Biodiesel of Morgan County was awarded $100,000 to assist in the development of a vertically-integrated biodiesel production facility.

Research grants into agricultural energy-related topics and issues could receive up to $50,000 for a single research project. SE Colorado RC&D of Otero County was awarded $49,186 for engine performance testing, fuels evaluation and enterprise budgeting for diesel biofuel.

The CAVAD was created to help facilitate the processing of agricultural products and commodities within the state and to serve as a resource for the state’s agricultural industry. Administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, CAVAD was established in 2001 and is led by a board of seven individuals who are appointed by the state legislature and the governor.


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