A case study in Vermont suggests that it is economically feasible for dairy farms to convert cow manure into electricity using anaerobic methane digestion, provided there is adequate commitment from utilities, farmers, customers, and government agencies.
During a seven-year period, six dairy farms participating in the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation’s (CVPS) so-called Cow Power program were able to generate about 12 million kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, and more than 4,600 customers voluntarily paid $0.04 more per kilowatt-hour, or about $470,000 annually, to use that power, according to a study published in the Journal of Dairy Science.
“The Cow Power program represents a successful and locally sourced renewable energy project with many economic and environmental benefits,” said Qingbin Wang a University of Vermont professor and lead author of the study.
But the study found the program’s success was dependent on several factors, including the base electricity price, premium rate, government financial support, and additional revenue from the sale of byproducts of methane generation.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.