Initiative provides R&D funds for alternate energy use in commercial greenhouses
QUEBEC CITY, QUE-The Quebec government has launched a two-year, $5-million program which will provide financial support for research and development into new, alternate sources of energy for heating and lighting commercial greenhouse operations. Diversifying this sector's sources of energy will make it less vulnerable to price fluctuations and improve its environmental performance, said Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister Laurent Lessard. The program consists of three stages, the first of which will cover up to 40% (to a maximum of $25,000) of eligible costs for technical and economic feasibility studies for alternate energy developments. Greenhouse operations must be 3,000 square metres (m2) or more in size to qualify for this stage. The second stage, open to enterprises 1,000 m2 or larger, will support the purchase and installation of new equipment for non-conventional energy sources. It will also cover up to 40% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $50,000. The final stage will fund pilot projects for putting in place alternative energy systems in greenhouse operations 3,000 m2 or larger. It will provide up to 15% of the total project cost, not to exceed the direct and indirect costs associated with the non-conventional energy system. Types of alternative energy qualifying under the program will include geothermal, waste heat, biomass, or other energy forms approved by an evaluation committee.