The agriculture sector consumes a large amount of energy in many countries. Energy is consumed in several major forms on most farms: general electricity (lighting, appliances), fuel (machinery, vehicles and freight costs), and heating/cooling and refrigeration (especially in industries such as dairy, horticulture, piggeries and poultry). For many small and medium-sized farming enterprises, rising energy costs are a serious concern—they increase operating costs and reduce competitiveness.
Now, many new technologies (or innovative combinations of existing technologies) are now available to help lower energy costs for businesses in the agricultural sector. However, many of these new technologies have limited track record, making them difficult to finance through traditional banks alone.
Waste is another area of opportunity. Agricultural waste, other commercial waste products, and household waste is plentiful in many areas, and disposal sometimes presents a challenge to local governments.
Now, waste that was previously destined for landfills can be used to generate useful forms of energy—heat, fuel, and electricity. Yet the technologies that turn waste products into energy are relatively new and unfamiliar to traditional financing entities, and benefit greatly from involvement of Green Banks.
See below for two successful programs that finance agricultural and other waste energy projects.