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Alternative Farming Systems Information Center of the National Agricultural Library
Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture


What Alternative Energy Options are Available for Farms?

Compiled by:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center
National Agricultural Library
Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture

December 2005


Publications from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory states that many renewable energy technologies are available for use on farms or ranches. Agribusiness opportunities in renewable energy include growing crops for production of biofuels or bioproducts, and leasing land to utility companies for the operation of wind turbines.


Technologies that are commercially available today for farms and ranches include:

1. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)

EERE maintains a gateway to “hundreds of Web sites and thousands of online documents on energy efficiency and renewable energy,” at their Energy Information Portal, http://energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy. Many of these factsheets and resource guides are of interest to farmers who wish to explore alternative energy production and utilization. To search the EERE Web site, go to http://energy.gov/eere/office-energy-efficiency-renewable-energy. Search for terms such as: farmer, farming, rancher, or rural. Free online documents include:

If you are unable to find the information you require via EERE’s Web site, Ask an Energy Expert is a free, public service of DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy:

Ask an Energy Expert online service, request form at: http://energy.gov/about-us/contact-us
If you have difficulty submitting this form, you can contact staff at 1-800-EERE-INF (1-877-337-3463).

2. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) addresses energy issues that are environmentally and economically sustainable. NREL is a national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

NREL (http://www.nrel.gov/) offers many publications, including the Renewable Energy for Farmers or Ranchers series. Publications in this series, available online at http://www.nrel.gov/learning/farmers_ranchers.html address what the farmer or rancher needs to know about energy efficiency and renewable energy. Topics covered include: biofuels, biopower, geothermal heat pumps, hydroelectric power, passive solar heating and daylighting, photovoltaic (solar cell) systems, solar hot water, wind energy. Many of these resources include links for introductory or basic information on the topic.


This list was compiled at the Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC), National Agricultural Library, U.S. Department of Agriculture, September 2003, revised December 2005, as a service to customers interested in pursuing various energy production options. For more information about AFSIC:

Alternative Farming Systems Information Center (AFSIC)
10301 Baltimore Ave., Room 123, Beltsville, MD 20705-2351
phone 301-504-6559; TDD 301-504-6856; fax 301-504-6409
E-mail: afsic@ars.usda.gov
Web site: http://afsic.nal.usda.gov


Return to:
Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, http://afsic.nal.usda.gov
National Agricultural Library, http://www.nal.usda.gov

United States Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Research Service
National Agricultural Library

The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center, afsic@nal.usda.gov
Web Policies and Important Links, http://www.nal.usda.gov/web-policies-and-important-links

December 2005