The type of farming done in Monterey County contributes relatively little to our collective greenhouse gas emissions, but now farmers are getting help to become more energy efficient.
The regional public agency that bulk buys electricity for the Central Coast has launched a $160,000 incentive program aimed at replacing aging and polluting agricultural equipment with new, all-electric tractors, coolers, boilers, forklifts and other items.
Monterey Bay Community Power announced the program on July 27, saying it expects to award up to $20,000 to a minimum of eight ag customers.
Of the total $160,000 available pot, $80,000 will go to Monterey County businesses, $40,000 to Santa Cruz County businesses, $20,000 to San Benito County businesses and $20,000 to businesses in the cities of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay.
In California’s most recent annual greenhouse gas inventory, the agriculture sector contributed 7.6 percent of total emissions, according to the state Air Resources Board. Within ag, 70 percent of emissions came from livestock, and the rest from crops and fuel use. With very little livestock locally, Monterey County agriculture is not a major source of emissions but the consensus among scientists is that cutting carbon across all industries will be necessary in order to avoid the worst climate change scenarios that expected.
Ag industry representative Norm Groot, who is the executive director of the Monterey County Farm Bureau, praised the new incentive program.
“Supporting the agricultural sector through this grant program will be a great start for MBCP to begin to invest in electrifying our region’s ever-important industry,” Groot said in a statement. “The agricultural industry continues to implement key strategies to reduce cost and meet environmental goals and MBCP is poised to be a strategic partner to help advance them.”