Mountain View, CA. – April 21, 2021… The BMW Group understands addressing climate change requires industry collaboration across different economic sectors, and a restructuring of traditional processes for producing and using energy. This Earth Day, the company is doubling down on its efforts to deliver more clean energy to California.
As the first automaker to establish renewable energy partnerships with agricultural dairy farms, the BMW Group is expanding and adding to those initiatives. Through its existing partnership with Straus Organic Dairy Farm in Marshall, CA , the farm has recently installed an expanded biodigester that transforms methane gas into renewable energy, successfully demonstrating how this partnership can be used to support more renewable energy development on small-scale organic dairy farms. Additionally, the BMW Group launched a partnership with CalBio, a developer of over 90 dairy digesters in California to increase access to more clean energy sources.
These collaborations generate enough renewable energy to offset all BMW and MINI EV charging emissions in the state of CA with the cleanest type of energy available. Additionally, that energy is also exported to the public power grid, providing over 11 million kWh of renewable energy to the state. The result is a reduction of 27,000 metric tons of carbon emissions per year, which according to the EPA, is the equivalent of the carbon benefits of planting a forest the size of San Francisco.
Pasture to Power: Benefits of Dairy Digesters
Dairy digesters represent an innovative way to reduce carbon emissions and generate economic benefits for agriculture communities creating a win-win opportunity for both industries.
Dairy farms can produce renewable energy using biodigesters, which capture methane from cow manure that would otherwise enter the atmosphere as a powerful greenhouse gas. The methane is transformed into renewable energy and then exported to the public power grid, replacing the need for fossil fuel power plants. By capturing methane that would have otherwise been released into the atmosphere, dairy digesters create a double emissions benefit. The California Air Resources Board recognizes this with a ‘negative’ emissions score, meaning that diary biodigesters not only offset carbon emissions, but reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. The BMW Group’s dairy digester partners are recognized as being among the cleanest sources of energy in the state of California.
In addition to the varied environmental benefits, the partnership also brings new revenue to family farms and agricultural communities through this production of clean transportation fuel. Under the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) program, the BMW Group can generate environmental credits with dairy farms, both sharing the value of these credits. This type of innovative, cross-sector partnership not only helps farm communities with new revenue, but also serves as a model to accelerate the adoption of biodigesters at more farms in California and beyond.
“Our sustainability mission isn’t simply about reducing carbon emissions but making sustainability practices financially attractive for the long-run, so that these practices can expand and help our partners thrive,” said Adam Langton, Energy Services Manager, Connected eMobility, BMW of North America. “Dairy biodigesters are an example of an energy technology that not only reduces carbon emissions in a sustainable way but also offers a new revenue stream to farmers and their communities. In the future, we hope to use this collaborative model we have created in California to support more biodigester development in the US and ultimately bring more clean energy sources to our customers.”
Straus Organic Dairy Farm Expansion
The BMW Group and Straus Organic Dairy Farm came together in 2019 to test the potential of an automaker and dairy farm partnership to generate renewable energy for electric vehicle drivers. Through this successful collaboration and generation of LCFS credits, the sustainability partnership has grown and expanded. Straus is now investing in a small-scale digester model for organic dairy farmers who want to adopt an affordable methane technology to reduce methane emissions and earn a new revenue source. The new biodigester produces more energy and additional carbon savings, enabling Straus to further create a self-sustaining system, allowing the farm to thrive, both financially and sustainably.
Albert Straus’ farm is the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River and he founded Straus Family Creamery — the first 100% certified organic creamery in the U.S., Straus is already a leader in pioneering innovation. The partnership with the BMW Group furthers Albert’s ultimate goal of his farm becoming a net carbon-neutral dairy farm.
“Farms have a crucial and essential role in being a solution to climate change. I appreciate BMW Group’s collaboration in helping us create a viable farming and food system for our communities,” said Albert Straus, founder and CEO, Straus Family Creamery.
The BMW Group is also working with CalBIO, designer and developer of dairy digesters in California. The company makes dairy-specific biodigesters to augment waste handling operations, save costs and assist in the nutrient management process for farms around the state. As California is home to 20% of the dairy industry, it’s a significant market and ripe for advanced sustainability practices.
“CalBio is pleased to be provide clean, green and carbon negative electricity to BMW’s electric vehicles in California from its California dairy biomethane projects” said N. Ross Buckenham, CalBio’s CEO. “Our dairy biomethane capture projects deliver cleaner water, cleaner air and clear skies while also delivering greenhouse gas reductions”.
The LCFS credits that are generated through these partnerships not only provide agricultural communities with additional revenue sources. These credits also allow the BMW Group to finance cutting edge sustainability programs like ChargeForward, the company’s innovative, flexible smart charging program.
BMW ChargeForward Program – Program Launches next week
ChargeForward is the first smart charging program to offer customers incentives for maximizing the integration of renewable energy with EV charging. This advanced smart charging initiative is available to all BMW battery electric (BEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) vehicle drivers in Northern and Central California who are also PG&E residential, electric customers. Interested BMW EV consumers can complete an application at www.bmwchargeforward.com to check eligibility. Enrolled drivers can start earning incentives next week, when the program officially launches. The program runs through March 2023.
ChargeForward was designed to help improve grid stability, support the integration of renewable energy and power the company’s EVs in the healthiest way possible – forwarding the BMW Group’s commitment to sustainability from design to engineering, production and the vehicle’s overall lifecycle. The company also hopes to expand its ChargeForward program to additional states and utility companies later this year.
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003. The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and Rolls-Royce Motor Cars; Designworks, a strategic design consultancy based in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley, and various other operations throughout the country. BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is the BMW Group global center of competence for BMW X models and manufactures the X3, X4, X5, X6 and X7 Sports Activity Vehicles. The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 348 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 144 BMW motorcycle retailers, 116 MINI passenger car dealers, and 38 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers. BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
About Straus Family Creamery
Based in Petaluma, CA, Straus Family Creamery is a Northern California, certified organic creamery offering minimally processed organic dairy products made from organic milk supplied by family farms in Marin and Sonoma Counties, including the Straus Organic Dairy Farm, which is the first certified organic dairy farm west of the Mississippi River. Straus Family Creamery, the first 100 percent certified organic creamery in the United States, continues to make business decisions based on its mission to help sustain family farms, revitalize rural communities, and protect the environment. The family-owned business sustains collaborative relationships with the family farms that supply it milk, offering stable prices and predictability in what can otherwise be a volatile marketplace. Learn about the Straus difference at StrausFamilyCreamery.com, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and Linkedin.