BioCycle September 2004, Vol. 45, No. 9, p. 14
ELECTRIC UTILITIES LAUNCH RENEWABLE PROGRAMS FROM BIOMASS
As described elsewhere in this issue, several generators of electricity are using biomass as a source of renewable power. One example is Dairyland Power Cooperative of LaCrosse, Wisconsin that was formed in 1941 and will this year produce electricity at dairy and swine farms using anaerobic digestion to generate power from manure. Each farm will generate 750 kilowatts as part of the process. Dairyland provides the wholesale electrical requirements and other services for 25 electric distribution cooperatives and 20 municipal utilities. These cooperatives and municipals, in turn, supply the energy needs of more than half a million people. Its electrical output is transmitted via 3,128 miles of transmission lines to 284 substations. The first of the farms will be online by the end of 2004.
Based in Rutland, Vermont, the Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) Corporation surveyed its customers last year about their interest in different types of renewable energy. “Results indicated a significant interest in farm generation,” writes Dave Dunn, CVPS program manager for its Cow Power Tariff and Renewable Development Fund. Dairy farms using anaerobic digestion will be eligible for financial incentives. The first farm is expected to be operational next month, producing enough biogas from 1,500 head of cattle to fuel a 275 kW generator. (See pages 34-36 for details of the CVPS strategy.)
On September 1, 2004, the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) announced that its customer, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), as part of a broader expansion of its green power program, has committed to an increase in its purchase of BEF’s Green Tags generated from regional solar power projects. PSE offers its customers the option of supporting electricity produced from renewable sources through its green power program.
“The Green Tags represent the premium value that the public places on power generated from clean, renewable resources,” says Rob Harmon, vice president for renewable programs at the Bonneville Environmental Foundation. “To meet this demand, we share in PSE’s commitment to provide customers with the best possible mix of resources.” BEF was established in 1998 to restore watershed ecosystems and further development of new renewable energy resources in the Northwest. Through revenues generated from sales of green power, BEF funds projects that restore damaged watersheds and supports new renewable energy from solar, wind and biomass. BEF pioneered the sale of Green Tags in 2000 and helped establish national standards for their certification and trading.
Puget Sound Energy is Washington state’s largest energy utility, provides service in 11 counties to almost one million electric customers. The utility’s green power program has more than 13,000 customers purchasing approximately 4 million kilowatt hours every month of renewable energy for the Northwest grid.