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ACRE3 Program

The ACRE3 (Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) program promotes the development and implementation of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for Colorado’s agricultural producers and processors under the direction of the Colorado Agricultural Value-Added Development Board.

As Colorado’s principal source of state-level support for agricultural energy management, the ACRE3 program provides financial and technical assistance and education to help agricultural producers and processors cut energy costs, develop their own energy resources, and create markets for agriculturally derived energy and fuels.

Energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies are broadly utilized as effective strategies to make Colorado’s agricultural businesses more economically competitive and sustainable.

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Current Projects

The Colorado Department of Agriculture has identified the following three priorities based on our assessment of statewide opportunities, potential impacts, and the need for ACRE3 program services.


Past Projects

The ACRE3 Program has been helping Colorado's farmers and ranchers discover alternative energy sources since 2007. Ongoing projects for a variety of renewable energies statewide are listed below.

Biofuel Projects

Biofuels are produced from living organisms or from organic or food waste products. In order to be considered a biofuel the fuel must contain over 80% renewable materials.

Homeland Renewable Energy

2011 Participation Project completed 10.26.11 Funding assisted in the development of a methane-rich biogas production facility. Homeland Renewable Energy_Interim Report

Southeast Colorado RC&D

2010 Research Project completed 10.29.10 This project is researching oilseed cropping as a strategy for sustained farming in regions impacted by agricultural water transfers in the Lower Arkansas Valley. Southeast Colorado RC&D Final Report

Dolores County \ San Juan Bioenergy

2007 Project Participation completed 01.14.09 Funding assisted in the purchase and lease of land, storage, and equipment for the establishment of a biodiesel production facility in Dove Creek. Dolores County_Final Report

Rio Grande County

2007 Feasibility completed 06.29.07 This project assessed the viability of establishing a seed crushing facility in the San Luis Valley. Rio Grande County Final Report   

National Sorghum Producers

2007 Research completed 01.14.09 The National Sorghum Producers conducted this project in three phases. Phase 1 was to research the potential of various sorghum forages as a source for biomass-to-ethanol conversion. Phase 2 samples were grown under various irrigation regimes; forage would be temporarily stored. Phase 3 stored forages would be analyzed at NREL. National Sorghum Producers Final Report   National Sorghum Producers NREL

iCast - Seed Crushing Pilot

2009 Participation completed 10.28.09 Funding is assisting in the implementation of two pilot projects for Colorado farm-scale oilseed crushing and biodiesel production. iCast - Seed Crushing Pilot Final Report   

Heartland Renewable Energy

2010 Participation Project completed 10.01.10 Funding assisted in the implementation of a waste-to-energy plant in La Salle. Heartland Renewable Energy 2010 Final Report   

Golden Plains

2009 Research completed 3.28.11 Funding assisted in evaluating renewable energy crop sequences for Northeastern Colorado Dryland farms. Golden Plains Final Report   

Yuma Conservation District

2011 Feasibility completed 10.1.11 This project is assessing the feasibility of a northeastern Colorado biodiesel facility. Yuma Conservation District Interim Report   

Feedlot Biofuel

2009 Feasibility completed 02.25.10 Funding assessed the feasibility of locating small ethanol plants in east-central and southeastern Colorado. Feedlot Biofuel Feasibility Study   2008 Feasibility Study completed 03.31.09 Funding assisted the assessment of Fort Morgan as a feasible and optimal location for building an ethanol production facility in Colorado. Colorado Farm Bureau Final Report    Colorado Farm Bureau Supplemental Report   

Colorado Farm Bureau
Colorado State University (Extension)

2007 Research completed 12.31.08 CSU researched the issues surrounding the growing, processing, and use of Straight Vegetable Oil as a substitute for on-farm engines. Colorado State University_Final Report CSU Clean Energy

Costilla County

2010 Feasibility Study completed 01.30.11 This project assessed the feasibility of privatizing the Costilla County Biodiesel facility. Costilla County_Final Report Costilla County_Strategic Plan

Colorado Corn Growers Association

2007 Feasibility Study completed 12.31.08 For Phase 1 of this project, the Colorado Corn Growers Association assessed the feasibility of the best locations for developing ethanol pump infrastructure in Phase 2. Colorado Corn Growers Association_Final Report Learn about biofuels Colorado Corn 2009 Participation completed 8.1.09 Funding will assist in the development of ethanol pump infrastructure in various rural Colorado locations. Colorado Corn Growers Association_Interim Report

Blue Sun Biodiesel

2008 Feasibility completed 02.20.10 This project researched the potential of camelina as a new, low-cost, high-value energy crop for farmers in Colorado's semi-arid agricultural regions. Blue Sun Biodiesel_Final Report Blue Sun Biodiesel_2009 Spring Camelina Production Guide

Biogas Projects

 Biogas energy sources use manure for gas or heat energy utilizing anaerobic digesters.

Crowley County

2008 Feasibility project completed 05.05.09 This project assessed the feasibility of implementing a bio-energy facility that will convert manure into biogas at Ordway Feed Yard. Crowley County Final Report   Crowley County Cow Power   

Washington County

2007 Feasibility project completed 05.31.07 This project assessed the economic viability of establishing a community-scale biodiesel facility in Northeast Colorado.

Chokecherry Farm

2008 Feasibilityproject completed 11.04.08 This project assessed the feasibility of biogas as a renewable energy resource for a small off-grid farm.

Stewart Environmental Consultants

2008 Feasibility completed 09.16.08 The project assessed the feasibility of utilizing anaerobic digesters to generate biogas energy via confined animal feeding operation wasted from regional farms. Stewart Environmental Consultants 2008 Final Report   ​ 2009 Research completed 11.10.09 This project inventoried available feedstock in Colorado for use in anaerobic digestion for biogas production. Stewart Environmental Consultants 2009 Final Report   ERAMS Database

Northeast Colorado RC&D

2010 Feasibility project completed 11.01.10 This project determined the feasibility of developing a centralized hog waste digester near Haxtun, CO. Northeast Colorado RC&D Final Report   

Biomass Projects

Biomass energy sources tap biological waste for gas or heat energy. The material is derived from living or recently living plant or animal organisms.


2011 Research interim completed 10.18.11 This project is researching the development of a biomass press. GeoSynFuels Interim Report   

San Juan Bioenergy

2009 Research final report completed 6.1.10 This project sampled the analysis of Syngas from a biomass gasifier for performance. San Juan Bioenergy Final Report   

iCast - Briquette

2009 Research completed 10.28.09 This project is researching briquetting biomass ag waste products to produce energy. iCast - Briquette 2009 Final Report   

Flux Farm Foundation

2010 Research interim completed 10.29.10 This project is evaluating perennial plant species and production inputs for sustainable biomass and bioenergy production on the western slope. Flux Farm 2010 Interim Report   

Flux Farm

2009 Research project completed 04.15.11 This project researched a distribution network of biomass pyrolyzers to potentially generate on-farm bioenergy. Flux Farm Final Report   ​ 2008 Feasibility project completed 10.29.08 This project assessed the viability of biomass gasification to generate electricity for agricultural businesses in the community. Cochetopa Land & Cattle Final Report   

Cochetopa Land & Cattle
BioVantage Resources, Inc.

2010 Research project completed 10.29.10 This project researched the potential of AG waste to algal biomass. BioVantage Resources Inc Final Report   

Colorado State University

2011 Research interim completed 10.25.11 This project s researching and assessing the energy, economic and environmental benefits of biochar for the Colorado agriculture industry. Colorado State University 2011 Interim Report   


2011 Research interim completed 10.26.11 This project is researching generating biopower from low-value biomass through torrefaction technology. iCast - Biomass 2011 Interim Report   

Education Projects

 Education projects educate on renewable energy sources in Colorado.

Colorado Working Landscapes

2009 Research project completed 04.01.11 Funds were awarded to assist in researching ways that local communities in the SLV can benefit from renewable energy projects and develop an action plan to address the issues.

May Farms

2009 Sponsorship project completed 07.01.09 Funds were awarded to assist in educating the public on the value of and resources for on-farm renewable energy through the first annual Colorado New Energy Festival at May Farms in Byers, Colorado in 2009. May Farms Final Report    Colorado Working Landscapes 2009 Final Report  

Energy Efficiency Projects

 Energy Efficiency is using less energy to provide the same level of energy service. It is generally a best practice to begin here before installing any renewable energy on your farm or ranch.

Colorado State University

2010 Research project interim completed 10.8.10 This project is assessing energy efficiency in various agricultural settings. Colorado State University 2010 Interim Report   

Energy Options Analysis Projects

 Energy Options Analysis funds are given to those who are looking for the appropriate renewable energy for their area.

Alamosa County

2007 Feasibility project completed 03.30.09 This Project determined the viability of a Sustainable Environmental and Economic Development Park (SEED) in Alamosa County in the San Luis Valley. Business plans will be prioritized and the land acquired for continuing the project. Alamosa County Final Report   

Synergistic Building Technologies & Cure Organic Farm

2010 Research project completed 8.16.11 This was phase 2 of the close-to-zero carbon footprint greenhouse to enhance the design and fully explore and document the rich data from phase 1 research. Synergistic Building Technologies & Cure Organic Farm 2009 Final Report   

Synergistic Building Technologies

2009 Research final completed 2-1-11 This project researched the potential of a new style of greenhouse capable of producing throughout the year with a close-to-zero carbon footprint. Synergistic Building Technologies 2009 Final Report   ​ Crowley County 2009 Final Report  ​ Crowley County 2009 Supplemental Report  

Crowley County

2009 Feasibility project completed 09.01.10 This project assessed the feasibility of developing a Green Community Plan for Crowley County.

Energy Storage Projects

 Energy Storage and conversion of energy becomes increasingly relevant as we move towards greater reliance on non-traditional energy sources. This category contains projects that convert chemical energy into electrical energy.

University of Colorado

2008 Research project completed 06.03.08 The project researched a new system to store electrical energy via a pumped hydroelectric scheme using surface water and the underground water table. University of Colorado 2008 Final Report   


2010 Research interim completed 10.29.11 The project is developing a prototype of an energy storage system that makes energy more affordable for ag producers. iCast 2011 Compressed Air Energy Storage   ​ 2008 Research final completed 02.22.10 This project researched various energy storage technologies that can help Colorado's agricultural producers save on energy costs and assess which can provide a source of profitable revenue. iCast 2008 Final Report   

Hydro Projects

  Hydroelectricity is obtained from hydropower. Hydropower (or waterpower) harnesses the energy of moving or falling water and it can be used directly as a mechanical force.

Applegate Group, Inc.

2010 Research project completed 08.01.11 Funding researched the potential of Colorado's agricultural infrastructure to produce low-head hydroelectric power. Applegate Group Final Report 2010   Applegate Group Inventory Summary 2010   

Painted Sky RC&D

2011 Feasibility interim completed 10.01.11 Funding is assessing the feasibility of developing a hydropower facility for agricultural applications in the Western Slope region.

Elk View Ranch

2008 Participation project completed 11.16.08 Funding assisted in the purchase and installation of a micro-hydro turbine and water line to develop micro-hydro energy utilizing irrigation water at Elk View Ranch. Elk View Ranch 2008 Final Report   

Solar Projects

 Solar Power is produced by collecting sunlight and converting it into electricity. This is done by using solar panels, which are large flat panels made up of many individual solar cells.

Arrowpoint Cattle

2011 Feasibility interim Report Completed 10.01.11 Funding is assessing the feasibility of the development of a solar dryer for preparation to pelletize a local brewery/restaurant spent grain for cattle feed. Arrowpoint Cattle Interim Report   


San Luis Valley RC&D

2008 Participation Project Withdrew 02.2010 These funds would have assessed the Monte Vista Cooperative in promoting the use of solar energy as an alternative resource for the agricultural sector and rural communities of the San Luis Valley by developing seven solar collection sites in the area. San Luis Valley RC&D Interim Report   Solar Energy 2009 Participation Project Completed 01.27.10 Funding developed year-round solar water pump for remote grazing location. Nunatak Alternative Energy Solutions Final Report   

Nunatak Alternative Energy Solutions
Wind Projects

 Wind power is produced by using wind generators to harness the kinetic energy of wind.

Brink Inc.

2011 Research interim completed 10.25.11 This project is developing an agricultural Wind Energy Demonstration Guide based on past research. Brink Inc 2011 Final Report   ​ 2009 Research project completed 07.28.10 This project measured and evaluated onsite wind resources at three Colorado livestock facilities (estimated for Elbert, Morgan, and Yuma counties). Brink Inc 2009 Final Report   

Southeast Colorado RC&D

2008 Participation final report completed 04.30.10 These funds will promote the use of farm scale small wind turbines in Eastern Colorado by assisting in the purchase of seven turbines for agricultural operations in the area. Southeast Colorado RC&D Final Report   

Elbert County

2007 Feasibility project completed 10.31.08 The project assessed the feasibility of wind energy at livestock facilities. Elbert County Final Report   

Baca County

2007 Feasibility project completed 04.13.07 The project assessed the development potential for small-scale wind energy as a renewable energy source for Eastern Colorado agricultural producers. Baca County Final Report