Loyd Ray Farms (NC, US)
A North carolina Case-study
Loyd Ray Farms partnered with Duke University’s Carbon Offsets Initiative (DCOI), Google, and Duke Energy to turn the waste of its 8,600 hogs into a valuable resource. The Farm adapted its waste storage lagoons to produce electricity. Unlike a typical lagoon system, the lagoon is covered - keeping oxygen out and biogas in. This is great for the Farm’s neighbors since the cover reduces the odor of the hog waste. And the environment benefits as well, since the cover also traps in the greenhouse gas (methane) that normally emits from the lagoon. Instead, the gas accumulates until it is sent to a microturbine where it generates electricity for use on the farm - reducing Loyd Ray Farms’ utility bill.
The benefits extend beyond the Farm. The DCOI, Google and Duke Energy also benefit. Duke University and Google have both made commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The reductions can be made at Duke or Google, but they can also be achieved through offsets. An offset is a verified reduction made somewhere else that Duke or Google can purchase and count towards their reduction goals. Similarly, Duke Energy has to generate a certain amount of its electricity using renewable energy. While Duke could install its own renewable technology, it can also pay its users to generate renewable energy and feed it into the grid. Here, Duke and Google were able to pay Loyd Ray Farm for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions to help meet their goals, and Duke Energy was to able to count Loyd Ray Farm’s electricity generation towards its renewable energy requirement.
To compensate Loyd Ray Farms for these benefits, the partners shared the cost associated with the technology. The type of technology the Farm used is becoming increasingly popular, but is still new. Adopting a new technology is expensive and presents operational challenges. But partnering with these other entities provides the Farm with capital and expertise, letting the Farmer focus on growing hogs.