Extending information,resources and links on renewable energy and energy conservation for Canadian farmers, agri-business and those who support them in order to enhance their ability to make sound and successful business decisions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Everpure Biodiesel Coop

I have come across the Everpure Biodiesel Coop several times over the past 4 years. They are located in beautiful Hillsburg, Ontario. An Everpure Biodiesel Coop member can purchase biodiesel for a price competitive to regular diesel. They are currently building membership and purchasing, distributing and selling a quality biodiesel to them. Next they want to produce the biodiesel themselves. They are working toward a vision of farmers producing a crop and selling oil from this crop to restaurants and institutions and recovering the used oil to process into biodiesel.

They hope to inspire others to do the same. What do you think, will they make it work in Hillsburg? What about other places?

For more about Everpure Biodiesel Coop see http://www.everpurebiod.ca/

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Biodiesel Reflections

I've started a re-look at bio-diesel. It hasn't been on my radar screen for awhile. Recently I came across an article from the Canadian Renewable Fuels Association. They represent some pretty sizable petro-chemical companies and were very positive on the future of bio-diesel. Although I was looking for the farm perspective on the opportunity I found their attitude almost too optimistic.

What I'd really like to know and share is if biodiesel is a viable business opportunity for farmers to increase profits, diversify, lay off risk or participate in more of the value chain i.e. production and refining of the biodiesel.

What's your experience?

I'm going to do some digging and report back.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

RETScreen Clean Energy Project Analysis Software

RETScreen is provided and maintained by CanmetENERGY, a research centre of Natural Resources Canada. Their objectives focus on providing decision making tools, information transfer and training - all to reduce costs, and facilitate successful decision making for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects. I've heard this tool referenced several times in the last few years. I'm on the look-out to relate actual experience in a future blog. If there is anyone out there willing to spend a few minutes relating their experience please comment.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Average Annual Wind Speed and Wind Energy

Here are some rules of thumb I came across from notes I made at a farm business conference energy workshop.

The amount of power harnessed from a wind turbine depends on the average annual wind speed - needing a relatively consistent wind flow. Wind systems require an average annual wind speed of 15 kilometers/hour to be viable. 25 km/hr is desireable and 29 km/hr is outstanding especially if you intend to sell the power.

The experts recommend that at least a year's weather data be collected before site selection. Have some wind experience to share - please comment.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Awareness of Renewable Energy Among Farmers

In 2007 we conducted a survey at the Canadian International Farm Equipment Show to find out the level of knowledge and renewable enegy activity among farmers. We talked to 88 farmers, the majority being 40 to 50 years old and the majority had "middle of the road" knowledge on renewable energy. What does that mean? Well it means that the majority of the respondents are thinking about the pro's and con's of renewable energy production on their farm. At the two extremes about 10% of the 88 knew nothing and 10% were ready to show a proposal to their financial institution.

Have we progressed i.e. are there more producers entering into renewable energy business opportunities three years later? Let us know by answering our poll - see right

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Solar Power - Hot Prospect & Ontario Farmers are Interested

I don't get out as much now that I have a home office. So when I hear the same topic come up twice from two very different sources - it must be hot. I recently met with a friend at OFA and he told me about the interest that solar energy power generation is getting due to the feed in tariff system under the Green Energy and Green Economy Act - the rate is very positive for solar energy production in particular at $.802/kWh for a ground or rooftop installation up to 10 kW with a 20 year contract!

I found information provided by the Ontario Power Authority easy to scan and get the facts see: http://www.fit.powerauthority.on.ca/

coming soon - another perspective on solar FIT from a potential producer

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Canadian Farm Business Management Council and Renewable Energy

The Canadian Farm Business Management Council are making it possible for me to blog about renewable energy and energy conservation. I'm thankful for that because of the learning, and challenge that it involves and because I have a passion for agriculture. The more I learn about renewable energy and conservation within the agri-food context, the more I see there is to learn.

I know the information, contacts, and resources we have developed can help Canadian Farmers interested in producing or conserving energy. So now we are working on ways to make that information accessible - a FarmEnergyOnline blog is born.

So thanks to the Council for making this possible - to learn more about The Canadian Farm Business Management Council go to www.farmcentre.com

If you have a great resources that you'd like to share please comment.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Growing the Margins 4th Year

There is a conference coming up that is well worth participation if you are serious about energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy . It is called Growing the Margins. This is the fourth year for this conference held in London, ON and it keeps expanding. I found the seminars to be relevant, interesting, and informative. I met people from several countries and professions relevant to agri-food and energy management. The registration fee is also reasonable and gives value for your money.

Last year the organizers also developed a biogas conference.

See www.gtmconference.ca and www.biogasconference.ca for more information.

The conference starts March 8th and you have until January 30th to take advantage of the early bird registration rates.