The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Pacific Southwest Region yesterday announced eight winners of its 2013 Environmental Champion awards.The annual awards are given to groups and individuals who have made significant contributions to protect the environment in their communities.
Curtimade Dairy, located in the San Joaquin Valley community of Tulare, CA, was one of the winners for installing one of the largest solar power units of any dairy in the country. The dairy is a leader in California's agricultural renewable energy sector and, unlike most other dairies, has readily embraced renewable energy production to reduce its overall energy use and related expenses.
By using three and a half acres of land that could not be used for feed production or to house animals, Curtimade installed a 719 kW, $2.9 million system, among the biggest of just a handful in the U.S. dairy industry. The facility produces enough electricity for 130 average American homes per year and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 27,000 tons over the 25 year warranted life of the solar panels (equivalent to removing 192 cars every year). Additionally, Curtimade's decision made economic sense as well, reducing average energy costs by about $18,000 per month.
“Award winners are leaders who are going above and beyond to make big moves to protect the environment and support local communities,” said Jared Blumenfeld, EPA’s Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “Work by these groups will leave a positive, lasting impact on us all for years to come.”
An award was also given and shared by another San Joaquin Valley individual and organization. Retired Director of Transportation John Clements and the Kings Canyon Unified School District in Reedley, CA, were recognized for demonstrating the feasibility of zero emission, battery-electric school buses and refrigerated lunch delivery trucks. In addition, Clements has actively engaged in numerous clean transportation stakeholder groups, helping to bolster federal, state and local efforts to accelerate the deployment of cleaner vehicle technologies in polluted air basins.
For more information on the awards and other winners: