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US Department of Energy funds partnership to develop programs for CEA adoption

Resource Innovation Institute (RII) is working with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) to develop a national infrastructure that will help states accelerate the integration of energy–and water–efficient Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) into communities.

The partnership comes on the heels of a yearslong collaboration between RII, its members, academic partners, and greenhouse and indoor operators that developed a foundation of CEA benchmarking, reports, and best practices through a grant funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). This work laid the foundation for long-term support of the CEA market. The goal of the DOE partnership is to bring these assets and strategies to market with the ability to scale for growth in the CEA industry.

"The USDA project served as a platform for RII and its members to build the foundation for the long-term advancement of climate-smart CEA in the United States," said Derek Smith, Executive Director of Resource Innovation Institute. "Now, we are working with the Department of Energy to accelerate the deployment of these assets for expansion and ongoing support for the CEA market. This sets the stage for widespread advancement of climate-smart CEA."

The project with DOE includes a number of key objectives in the development of a national infrastructure that will accelerate the integration of CEA into states and communities, including:

  • Creating a national site feasibility tool to streamline site identification, permitting, and power/water hookups and promote decarbonization and circularity strategies, including co-location of CEA facilities with other industrial operations to enable collaborative market practices such as waste heat exchanges.
  • Scaling up producer benchmarking across a range of crops and climate zones to grow a national dataset of energy, water, and carbon emissions, leading to improved efficiency and profitability, unlocked utility incentives, and, ultimately, third-party performance verification.
  • Establishing a national CEA workforce infrastructure, including the development of best practices guidance on AI & robotics, energy management, and international knowledge-sharing on a range of design and construction practices, leading to the launch of a professional credentialing program for the design and construction sector.
  • Engaging with leading states, including Pennsylvania and California, on strategies to deploy the upcoming Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), and Farm Bill investments to support climate-smart CEA development.

For more information:
Resource Innovation Institute

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