The state of California will be offering $57 million in food processing grants in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The grant funding distributed by the new Food Production Investment Program will allow food processors to save money as well as conserve energy. The California Energy Commission will be administering the new program made possible by last year’s Assembly Bill 109 and the creation of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
There will be two tiers of food processing grants available through the program. Tier one grants will range from $100,000 to $3 million to go towards drop-in replacements of more energy efficient equipment or additions to existing equipment that will result in lower emissions. Tier one grants will require at least 35 percent of matching funds.
Tier two awards will require at least 15 percent of matching funds for grants ranging from $2 million to $8 million. These grants will be used for new technologies that are not widely used in California but have shown to be effective in reducing emissions in other areas.
According to the commission, food processing is one of largest users of energy in the state, consuming 7 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity and 500 million therms of natural gas in 2015. The amount of energy used is to be expected from an agricultural industry which the commission values at $54 billion, generating an additional $100 billion in economic activity related to agriculture.
The Food Production Investment Program is available for all food processors in the state. The California Energy Commission is expecting significant interest in the grant funding and applications must be submitted no later than August 31. Projects that are approved to receive funding will be announced sometime early in 2019.
California Energy Commission Chairman Robert Weisenmiller said in a statement, “this type of support not only helps the industry reduce operating costs and greenhouse gas emissions, but it helps the industry remain competitive so jobs associated with food production remain in California.”