Press Release Announcement NYSERDA R&D Paper Offers 2020 Vision of Potential for Greenhouse Agriculture
October 16, 2007
Albany, Oct. 16, 2007 -The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) today, in recognition of World Food Day, cited a senior staff Vision Paper outlining the potential for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) in New York State by the year 2020. The report was produced for a NYSERDA scientific conference on CEA held in Syracuse .
CEA is a combination of engineering, plant science, and computer-managed greenhouse control technologies designed to provide secure, healthy and cost effective year-round production of many plant species for food and pharmaceutical markets. NYSERDA envisions that someday in the near future, CEA will enable abundant year-round supply of local fruits and vegetables including:
- 1,000-1,500 acres of greenhouses across the state
- 10,000-15,000 new agricultural jobs
- $400-600 million in annual economic benefit
New York State 's production of fresh vegetables and fruits in CEA facilities may grow significantly over the next decade. The paper considers the potential negative impact of water quality and field-crop contamination sources in major vegetable-growing areas. These health and safety concerns, combined with rising long-distance transportation, petroleum-based fertilizer costs, and imported food concerns could position New York to resume a larger regional food production role-all indoors.
CEA crops offer consistently high quality, are available “out-of-season,” and often are grown with little or no pesticide. Currently, the “out-of-season” fresh vegetable markets (e.g. lettuce, tomatoes, spinach and green peppers) are dominated by southern and western US growers and more-distant foreign producers. Previous studies and working demonstrations organized in cooperation with Cornell University and the State Department of Agriculture and Markets indicate that a New York CEA industry is not only feasible but would provide economic revitalization to the State's agricultural crop sector.
Paul D. Tonko, NYSERDA President and CEO noted: “This CEA vision could revitalize New York crop agriculture. NYSERDA has already funded two working CEA demonstrations for tomatoes and lettuce. Combined with forward-thinking State policy, indoor food production through advanced technology could be expanded significantly to serve the major northeast market for fresh vegetables. Local production avoids the rising long-distance shipping costs from distant suppliers and offers year-round access to healthy and locally grown fruits and vegetables.”
The NYSERDA Vision Paper notes the potential over the coming decade:
- In New York State , the combination of energy efficiency, decentralized power generation, and supportive net-metering policies, would have CEA systems tied into and supplying the electric grid wherever possible. CEA's highest needs would use off-peak utility resources, and minimize utility system use during peak demands, thereby boosting utility system reliability for all consumers.
- At the State and Federal levels, energy policies should encourage energy efficiency and renewable energy development to support the development of energy-efficient CEA projects that manage electrical loads. These facilities would minimize peak demand and use indigenous energy resources such as stranded natural gas, off-grid wind, biomass, landfill, and biogas to provide combined heat and power for arrays of greenhouses.
- Development of capped urban Brownfield sites through progressive State policies and tax incentives would convert these environmental wastelands to productive, tax paying use. CEA facilities might be developed atop them to support sustainable, green urban development and inner city jobs.
- Locally grown CEA fruits and vegetables are both publicly accepted and expected in grocery stores, restaurants and public markets because of their quality, safety, cost competitiveness and availability in New York State .
- The establishment of a strong CEA industry would create a stable, community-based agricultural workforce that is well-integrated into the local community.
A Vision of Controlled Environment: Agriculture in New York State [PDF] prepared by NYSERDA Industry and Buildings Senior Project Manager William Reinhardt, is available online or upon request by visiting NYSERDA.
NYSERDA has committed to developing a roadmap to illustrate the goals, challenges and priority actions related to the growth of the CEA industry in New York State . To participate in developing that roadmap, contributors may visit the program at: NYSERDA's Controlled Environmental Agriculture page.
Ray Hull, NYSERDA
518-862-1090 ext 3356
Last Updated: 10/19/2012