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New renewable energy tool for farmers

A new resource to help farmers reduce their dependence on conventional energy sources was recently launched by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

April 4, 2008  By Government of Canada/Canadian Federation of Agriculture

April 3, 2008

London, ON The Government of Canada has unveiled a new resource to help farmers reduce their dependence on conventional energy sources and improve farm sustainability. The Integration of Renewable Energy on the Farm (IREF) Web site is a complete repository of technical information and online tools for analyzing the potential for integrating renewable energy sources onto individual farms. The announcement was made by Joe Preston, Member of Parliament for Elgin-Middlesex-London, on behalf of the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources at the Growing the Margins Conference.


"We’ve taken the best information available on renewable energy technology for the agricultural sector and made it easily accessible through the Internet," said Mr. Preston.
"The IREF Web site also provides online tools that will help farmers assess viable options for using renewable energy and determine the exact return on their investment."

IREF is the result of a four-year partnership between Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Agriculture Canada and more than 20 agricultural and energy organizations across Canada, and represents an investment of $1.2 million by the Government of Canada.

"Great things happen when industry and government work together in partnership to develop tools that meet the needs of farmers. The IREF Web site is a perfect example of that," said Ron Bonnett, 2nd Vice-President, Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA). "The CFA is pleased to assume the administration of this tool that will help Canadian farmers take part in the renewable energy revolution, making their operations more sustainable both environmentally and economically."

The Government of Canada's ecoACTION plan is investing more than $3.6 billion through its ecoENERGY initiatives to make clean energy readily available and more affordable for Canadians.

This new IREF Web site will include links to the ecoENERGY for Renewable Heat and ecoENERGY for Biofuels programs. It is expected that some farms will benefit from these programs and use renewable energy technologies to save energy and possibly produce surplus energy that they can sell to power utilities.

"This initiative reflects our government’s approach to tackling climate change and air pollution — a balanced approach in partnership with Canadians to put new technologies and innovation to work for our environment and our economy," said Mr. Preston. "We’re taking action to ensure that Canada is on the leading edge of clean technologies to reduce emissions and adapt to environmental change."

The IREF project was led by researchers at NRCan’s CANMET Energy Technology Centre — Canada’s largest science and technology research organization dedicated to clean energy research, development, demonstration and deployment.

The IREF Web site can be found at


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