EPA Recognizes Tulare Dairy for Agricultural Renewable Energy

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Pacific Southwest Region TODAY announced the eight winners of its 2013 annual environmental awards, acknowledging significant contributions winning organizations have made in the past year to protect the environment and support communities.

Groups and individuals were selected from nominees received this year from businesses, government officials, tribes, academia, and environmental organizations. Of this year’s winners from Arizona, California, Hawaii and Nevada, five recipients are from California, one being a dairy.

Curtimade Dairy is a leader in California's agricultural renewable energy sector. The dairy, located in Tulare, has embraced renewable energy production in a big way, while most other dairies have been slow to adopt the technology. Looking to reduce their overall energy use and related costs, Curtimade used underutilized land that could not be used for feed production or to house animals.

On three and a half acres of this land, they installed a 719 kW, $2.9 million system, among the biggest of just a handful of dairy solar units in the U.S. The solar installation produces enough electricity to power 130 average American homes per year and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 27,000 tons over the 25 year warranted life of the solar panels, which is the equivalent to removing 192 cars from the road yearly. 

In addition to offsetting fossil fuel use and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the dairy also sees a savings of approximately $18,000 per month in energy costs.

“Award winners are leaders who are going above and beyond to make big moves to protect the environment and support local communities,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work by these groups will leave a positive, lasting impact on us all for years to come.”
Each year, the Pacific Southwest EPA office encourages citizens in California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawai’i and the Pacific Territories to nominate individuals, non-profits, businesses, local governments and other groups for environmental awards. This program offers a great opportunity to recognize individuals and groups outside of the EPA who are working to protect public health and the environment. Awards are granted to scientists, teachers, journalists, citizen activists, young people, organizations, business representatives, tribal leaders, public officials, and others committed to protecting public health and preserving our natural surroundings.

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