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Farmers, ranchers get incentives

NNBW Staff

Nevada may be the most arid state in the nation, but NV Energy believes there’s potential in harnessing the streams that flow through ranches and farms to generate power.

The utility is offering financial incentives to Nevada agricultural producers who invest in micro hydroelectric facilities on their land.

NV Energy has fielded about a half dozen applications from landowners who are interested in developing hydro projects, said John Hargrove, program manager for energy efficiency and conservation for the company.

A pool of $500,000 in energy conservation incentives is available to help spur the projects in the current 12-month period, and Hargrove said the applications currently in the company’s pipeline would consume about half the pool of incentives.

The incentives can offset up to 60 percent of the cost of the installed systems. The amount is determined by the size of the system that’s installed.

The hydroelectric program is new, and Hargrove said it may prove to be more complex than other efforts that encourage customers to generate their own power.

Water law, for instance, governs the ability of ranchers and farmers to dam a stream to drive a hydroelectric turbine.

Another new program, meanwhile, provides financial incentives to ranchers and farmers who install wind-generation equipment. A sister program offers incentives to other customers who install wind-generation.

For about five years, NV Energy has offered incentives to customers who install photovoltaic solar panels.

Hargrove said the renewables program has drawn strong support from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada as well as the State Legislature. He said Nevada is among the nation’s leaders in encouraging customers to install their own backyard generation.

(For details on the programs, go to http://www.nvenergy.com/renewablegenerations.)