Dairy Cooperative Partnerships for Increased Energy Efficiency
ST. PAUL [April 2013] – The Minnesota Project and the Hastings Cooperative Creamery Company have partnered to develop strategic energy efficiency programming for dairy cooperatives and electric utilities. With grant support from the Minnesota Department of Commerce – Division of Energy Resources, The Minnesota Project will study ways dairy cooperatives can promote farm energy efficiency to boost dairy farm profitability and achieve utility conservation standards under state law.
Project partner Hastings Cooperative Creamery Company is a farmer-owned dairy cooperative based in Hastings, Minnesota with approximately 100 Minnesota and Wisconsin farmer members. Hastings Cooperative Creamery Company farmers market their raw milk through the co-op to supermarkets, convenience stores, schools, and food service under the Valley View Farms® label.
Throughout 2013, The Minnesota Project and Hastings Cooperative Creamery Company will gather basic data about farmer members’ energy use, create a bench-marking tool farmers can reference to compare their energy consumption to similarly situated dairies, and deliver 30 dairy farm energy audits to Minnesota-side members. The parties will document individual dairy farm and cooperative-wide energy savings potential in light of feasible energy efficiency measures.
Following the data collection phase, the partners will engage electric utilities, equipment suppliers, and interested stakeholders throughout 2014 to develop utility programming based on the dairy cooperative energy metrics. The Minnesota Project will demonstrate how agricultural energy efficiency programming can facilitate both farm profitability and electric utilities’ Conservation Improvement Programming (CIP), which challenges electric and natural gas utilities to reduce their electricity sales by a 1.5% average over three-year periods under Minnesota law. Ultimately, The Minnesota Project plans to replicate and scale up agricultural efficiency programming with utilities and agricultural cooperatives across the state.
About THE MINNESOTA PROJECT
The Minnesota Project champions programs for the sustainable production and equitable distribution of energy and food in communities across Minnesota. These programs are focused on the development, conservation and efficient use of renewable energy; farm practice and policy that promote profitable farms that protect and replenish the environment; and the production and consumption of local, sustainably grown foods.