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Online AgSTAR Digest: Winter 2010

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Exhibitors and Sponsors Wanted for 5th National AgSTAR Conference

EPA is seeking exhibitors and sponsors for its Fifth National Conference on April 27-28, in Green Bay, WI. The conference is the perfect opportunity to network with your colleagues, clients, and others interested in the anaerobic digestion of manure and associated energy production. In addition to onsite recognition during the conference, logos of exhibitors and sponsors who commit early will be included in conference materials. Information is now available on the AgSTAR Conference Web page.

Fifth National AgSTAR Conference: Register Now!

After the successful 2009 AgSTAR Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, planning is underway for the 2010 conference, which will be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin on April 27-28, 2010. An optional tour of two local dairy farm digesters will be offered on April 26th. It is a pivotal time in the industry and with increased national attention on greenhouse gas emissions, it is more important than ever to learn about the latest developments in anaerobic digestion of livestock manures.

Last year we had over 300 attendees and 40 exhibitors at the conference, and we hope to surpass that in Green Bay. The conference is a must for livestock producers, project developers, regulators, energy professionals, financiers, and others interested in this field. The conference is a great place to learn, identify potential projects, and network with others in the industry. We can't wait to see you there!

To learn more and register on-line, visit the AgSTAR Conference Web page.

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FarmWare Version 3.3 Available

FarmWare is an analytical tool developed by AgSTAR to provide preliminary assessments on the benefits of integrating anaerobic digestion into an existing or planned dairy or swine manure management system. Version 3.3, released in November 2009, corrects programming errors identified in the previous version. The free software can be downloaded from the AgSTAR website. If you have any comments or questions, please contact AgSTAR.

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Anaerobic Digesters to Help Cut Dairy GHG Emissions

"Use of manure to electricity technology is a win for everyone because it provides an untapped source of income for farmers, provides a source of renewable electricity, reduces our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and provides a wealth of additional environmental benefits."
- Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agriculture Secretary

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on December 15, 2009, an agreement with U.S. dairy producers to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by USDA and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, the groups agreed to work together to reach the target. USDA will take a number of steps to help farmers, including supporting a strategic research plan to help the industry further reduce environmental impacts. The MOU should help accelerate adoption of anaerobic digesters for all sizes of dairy farms, make it easier to connect to electricity grids, and assist digester operators in obtaining revenue from potential carbon offsets. Other potential outcomes of the MOU include coordinating research information on life cycle assessments and supporting the industry's efforts in energy audits, feed management, and energy conservation.

Source: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, "USDA & Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy Announce Agreement to Enhance Sustainability, Cut Industry's Greenhouse Gases by 25 Percent," December 15, 2009.

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USDA Awards REAP Grants and Loan Guarantees

In September 2009, USDA announced the grant and loan guarantee awards to agricultural producers and small rural businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Under Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill, REAP provides incentives for the development and construction of renewable energy projects, such as anaerobic digestion projects. AgSTAR is aware of 11 livestock manure digestion projects, listed below, that were approved for funding.

Awardee Type City State Grant Amount Guaranteed Loan Amount
AGreen Energy, LLC Dairy Multiple Sites MA   $951,638
Dubois Energy, LLC Dairy Vergennes VT $500,000 $500,000
Esda, Inc. Dairy Myakka City FL $154,500  
Farm Power Lynden, LLC Dairy and other (centralized) Lynden WA $500,000 $2,400,000
FPE Renewables, LLC Dairy Multiple Sites WA $200,000  
Link Energy, LLC Swine/beef cattle Riceville IA $500,000 $500,000
Monument Farms Three Gen, LLC Dairy Weybridge VT $290,250 $501,000
Pine Island Farm Dairy Sheffield MA $321,493 $500,000
Schmack Biomass-OARDC, LLC Manure, food and crop waste, and grass (centralized) Wooster OH $500,000 $800,000
Swisslane Farms Dairy Alto MI $374,595  
Van Erk Dairy, LLC Dairy Haviland OH $466,560 $466,560

Farm Power Lynden will receive $2.9 million to construct a centralized anaerobic digester that will use manure from over 2,000 dairy cows as a feedstock to create methane gas, which will be used to generate electricity. Additionally, the excess heat from the engine-generator set will be used at a nearby greenhouse grower. Schmack Biomass, which is now Quasar Energy Group, has been awarded $1.3 million for construction of an anaerobic digestion system at Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC). The facility will digest regional food waste, crop waste, and manure from the University to produce electricity and thermal heat.

Sources: Congressman Rick Larsen, "Larsen Applauds Federal Support for Whatcom County Anaerobic Digester," September 30, 2009 and Schmack Biomass, "USDA Grant Awarded to Schmack's Wooster Project," 2009.

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Dairy Power Summit

"The Dairy Power Summit is an outstanding effort on the part of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, as we try to reduce the methane emissions and enable farmers to use cleaner, renewable energy sources, and as we go forward in our attempt to green our environment, to green our economy, and also to create economic development for our farmers."
- David A. Paterson, New York Governor

AgSTAR participated in the Dairy Power Summit, held October 29 and 30, 2009, in Syracuse, New York. The event, organized by The Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, with sponsorship from GE Energy, brought together more than 200 New York dairy farmers and industry stakeholders from across the country to discuss the potential for dairy-supplied renewable energy. Summit attendees set a 2020 goal that 40 percent of all manure from New York dairy farms will go through the anaerobic digestion process. To achieve this goal, attendees collaborated to develop an action plan made up of more than a dozen initiatives, including:

In preparation for the Summit, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy published Capitalizing on Energy Opportunities on New York Dairy Farms (PDF) (100 pp, 1.4 MB), by Curt Gooche, PE, and Jennifer Pronto. Chapters in the report include:

  • New York Digester Status and Lessons Learned
  • Cost, Benefits, and Feasibility
  • Challenges and Regulations
  • NY Energy Opportunities
  • Greenhouse Gases and Anaerobic Digestion

Source: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, "Renewable Energy From Manure Becomes Reality for New York," PR Newswire, December 11, 2009.

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Methane to Markets Update

Is your organization involved in international anaerobic digestion applications? Increase your network - sponsorship and exhibition packages are still available for the 2010 Partnership Expo. This is an excellent opportunity to garner a global audience for your company! Full information on how to become a sponsor is available on the Methane to Markets website.

Methane to Markets 2010 Partnership Expo

The 2010 Partnership Expo in New Delhi, India, is approaching fast! Registration for the 2010 Partnership Expo is now open. Expo participants will be able to showcase the latest methane mitigation projects and technologies, meet with potential partners and financiers, and explore key policy issues. The Expo will also include an International Methane Capture Marketplace featuring more than 130 potential capture and use project opportunities and success stories from more than 20 countries around the world. The Methane to Markets Partnership has posted a preliminary agenda (PDF) (16 pp, 692K) for the March 2-5, 2010 Expo.

Agriculture Subcommittee Meets in China

On September 3, 2009, the Agricultural Subcommittee members held a meeting in Guangzhou, China. The subcommittee discussed preparations for the Methane to Markets 2010 Partnership Expo, considered incorporating enteric fermentation and rice cultivation into the scope of the Partnership, and developed recommendations for the Partnership's Steering Committee on that topic. The subcommittee also reviewed newly developed draft protocols for the performance evaluation of anaerobic digestion systems. Participants in the meeting visited three swine farms with anaerobic digestion projects and a village where the residents use biogas for cooking and heating water. The Agriculture Subcommittee meeting was held in conjunction with the International Conference on Water Pollution Reduction and Climate Change Mitigation. More information about this meeting can be found on the Methane to Markets website.

Methane to Markets Releases Reports

The Methane to Markets Partnership has recently published two reports. In October 2009, the Partnership released its Fourth Annual U.S. Government's Methane to Markets Partnership Accomplishments (PDF) (26 pp, 1.6MB) report. The report was developed collaboratively by EPA, the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, U.S. DOE, USDA, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency. To date, the United Sates has provided approximately $40 million to support a wide range of projects and activities, including anaerobic digestion projects. These projects are already delivering reductions of 26.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. When fully implemented, they will deliver estimated annual emissions reductions of more than 61 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

In November 2009, Methane to Markets released Partnership Accomplishments (PDF) (52 pp, 2.6MB) — its first partnership-wide accomplishments report, which included the activities of its 31 Partners. Accomplishments by members of the Agriculture Subcommittee detail how they have been working to reduce the barriers to anaerobic digester project development in their respective countries. Highlights include the organization of numerous meetings and workshops to raise awareness about technologies and project financing; conduction of resource assessments in order to characterize opportunities for digester deployment and identify potential project sites; support for the development of demonstration and full-scale anaerobic digester projects; and other strategies to reduce the informational, institutional, and regulatory barriers to project development.

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Update on ARRA

On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which included billions of dollars in tax credit and other financial incentives for renewable energy initiatives. Much of the money flowed to State Energy Offices, which issued calls for grant applications last year. For example, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) was awarded $14.9 million to pay local contractors to install a variety of farm conservation practices that will reduce pollution, including anaerobic digestion systems. Pennsylvania announced that they are using ARRA funding to support the development of nine livestock manure anaerobic digestion projects. Because some states have indicated additional grants will be offered, AgSTAR encourages livestock producers interested in developing anaerobic digester projects to contact their State Energy Office for information about potential funding opportunities.

Several legal firms are also providing information about the federal incentives. Examples include:

Sources: Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, "Governor Rendell Announces Green Energy Works! Projects Will Use Waste Material to Generate Power for 80,000 Homes," December 22, 2009 and Chesapeake Bay Foundation, "$14.9 Million in Stimulus Funding Awarded for PA Agricultural Conservation Practices," July 21, 2009.

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New Anaerobic Digester Projects

Washington

Cutting the ribbon are Kevin Maas (Farm Power), Steve Reynolds (PSE), Garritt Kuipers (Beaver Marsh Farms), Daryl Maas (Farm Power), Jae Easterbrooks (Shorebank), Bryan Van Loo (Andgar), Jason Vander Kooy (Harmony Dairy), Gerrit Kuipers (Beaver Marsh Farms), and Eric Vander Kooy (Harmony Dairy).

Cutting the ribbon are Kevin Maas (Farm Power), Steve Reynolds (PSE), Garritt Kuipers (Beaver Marsh Farms), Daryl Maas (Farm Power), Jae Easterbrooks (Shorebank), Bryan Van Loo (Andgar), Jason Vander Kooy (Harmony Dairy), Gerrit Kuipers (Beaver Marsh Farms), and Eric Vander Kooy (Harmony Dairy).

On September 28, 2009, Farm Power Northwest, LLC held a ribbon-cutting, attended by Governor Chris Gregoire, for its new anaerobic digester. The system was designed and built by Andgar Corporation to utilize manure from several farms. Farm Power funded and now operates the anaerobic digester. Two dairies (Beaver Marsh Farms and Harmony Dairy) will supply the digester with manure and in return the dairies will be able to use the liquid fertilizer extracted from the manure and a sterile fiber byproduct for bedding. Additionally other feedstocks including agricultural waste products, such as spoiled fruit and cheese whey, as well as residuals from chicken processing, may be used in the system, which will produce up to 750 kilowatts (kW) of energy. The electricity is sold to Puget Sound Energy as part of the utility's Green Power Program.

To support the project, Farm Power received two $500,000 grants—one from USDA Rural Energy for America Program and another from Washington State Department of Commerce. Additionally, $2.1 million in USDA loan guarantees was awarded to cover long-term borrowing from ShoreBank Pacific.

Sources: Puget Sound Energy, "Farm Power Generates Electricity for PSE Customers," September 28, 2009, and Cookson Beecher, "Dairies' Manure Turned into Fuel," The Seattle Times, October 13, 2009.

Nevada

Preparations are being made for Nevada's first anaerobic digestion project to be located at Desert Hills Dairy in Wabuska—one of the state's largest dairies. Desert Hills Dairy Biodigester, LLC, subsidiary of Carbon Bank Ireland Ltd. (a carbon credit trader), has selected GHD-developed anaerobic digester technology to capture methane from the dairy cattle manure to generate electricity and recover a liquid fertilizer and a mulch by-product. The electricity produced from the anaerobic digester will be used for on-farm energy needs.

Source: Carbon Bank Ireland Ltd, "Nevada's First Biodigester Starts Construction," Reuters, October 2, 2009.

New York

On October 9, 2009, Swiss Valley Dairy in Warsaw, New York, began to produce electricity from biogas recovered from an anaerobic digester. The methane captured from the manure of 1,200 dairy cows is used to fuel a 400 kW engine-generator set. The system allows the farm to meet all of the electricity needs at the farm. Swiss Valley Dairy expects to use half the generated electricity with the remainder to be sold to the New York State Electric and Gas Corporation as a renewable electricity source for its customers.

Source: The Daily News Online, "Farms 'Harvesting' Manure for Electricity," October 11, 2009.

Vermont

In October 2009, Westminster Farms hosted a ceremony to celebrate their anaerobic digester system, which is fed manure from the dairy's 1,200 cows and agricultural substrates to produce methane. Green Mountain Power is purchasing the electricity from the farm at a fixed price. The farm estimates it will save $80,000 by using the leftover solids as cow bedding. The liquid waste will be used as fertilizer. Westminster Farms made an investment of nearly $700,000 in the project. Additional funding was provided through USDA Rural Development, Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund, Green Mountain Power, Vermont Department of Agriculture, and Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation.

Source: Green Mountain Power, "Green Mountain Power Celebrates First Methane Plant at Westminster Farms," October 10, 2009.

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Biocycle Promotes Anaerobic Digestion

In October 2009, AgSTAR was a co-sponsor of the 9th Annual BioCycle Conference: Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling in Bloomington, Minnesota. Topics covered during the conference included anaerobic digestion, landfill gas utilization, and organics recycling. Presentations from the event are posted and included speakers such as:

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Policy Updates

California

In October 2009, California enacted Assembly Bill 920 (PDF) (20 pp, 131K), which provides net metering customers two additional options for net excess generation (NEG) remaining after a 12-month period. Net-metered customers now have the option of rolling NEG over to the following month indefinitely, or customers can receive a payment from the utility at the end of an annual period at a rate to be determined by the California Public Utilities Commission. By January 31, 2010, utilities must notify all of their net metering customers of these new options. If the customer makes no election for either option, the utility will be granted their NEG at the end of the 12-month period with no compensation to the customer.

Oregon

In September 2009, the Oregon Public Utilities Commission finalized interconnection rules for small generators. These new interconnection rules (PDF) (36 pp, 1.4MB) extended the state's existing interconnection rules to systems up to 10 megawatts (MW) and set limits on interconnection fees.

Source: Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), Connecting to the Grid, October 2009.

Proposed Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Rule has Potential to Reduce Burden

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is proposing a new rule that will reduce both the filing burden for applicants and the processing burden for the Commission. If approved, FERC's new regulations will reduce the burden for small power production facilities, including renewable energy projects. Currently these facilities are required to file self-certifications (and maintain self-recertifications) for each project developed. For generating facilities with net power production capacities of 1 MW or less, the FERC is proposing to make the facilities exempt from the qualifying certification requirement. The comment period closed in December 2009.

Source: FERC, "Notice of Proposed Rule Making (PDF) (57 pp, 415K)," October 15, 2009.

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Climate Action Reserve News

In October 2009, the Climate Action Reserve, a leading non-profit standards organization for carbon offset projects, adopted a new protocol for organic waste digestion credits. Organic Waste Digestion Project Protocol (PDF, 85 pp., 2.0 MB, About PDF) expands on the Climate Action Reserve's existing livestock manure digestion protocol by including new eligible organic waste streams, as well as co-digestion of eligible wastes with ineligible wastes or with manure. Credits can now be earned for the digestion of municipal solid waste, food waste, or agro-industrial wastewater. Wastewater is generally eligible if it is currently managed in an uncontrolled anaerobic storage system.

On November 9, 2009, the Climate Action Reserve issued a revised start date policy for offset projects. This new policy impacts livestock manure digester projects. It sets a deadline of March 1, 2010, for the submission of any livestock manure digester projects located in the United States that are already operational. Until this new deadline, projects with start dates as early as January 1, 2001 may be eligible. On March 1, 2010, and thereafter, only new livestock projects may be submitted. For more information on the revised policy, visit Climate Action Reserve's website (PDF, 2 pp., 58 KB, About PDF) or contact Max DuBuisson (max@climateactionreserve.org) at 213-785-1233.

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Awards to Organizations Supporting AD Projects

Green Power Leadership Awards

In September 2009, EPA co-sponsored the Green Power Leadership Awards in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Center for Resource Solutions (CRS). The awards serve to recognize the leading actions of organizations, programs, and individuals that significantly advance the development of green power sources. This year's winners for the Green Power Program of the year were Central Vermont Public Service Corporation – Cow Power (CVS Cow Power), Madison Gas and Electric Company, and Puget Sound Energy. Both CVS Cow Power and Puget Sound Energy have anaerobic digester projects that supply energy to their customers. CVPS Cow Power started in 2004 and promotes a manure management system that provides a source of clean, renewable energy. Puget Sound Energy has offered its green power program to the Pacific Northwest since 2002, with a resource mix of 71 percent wind, 28 percent biomass, and 1 percent solar—including power from the new Farm Power anaerobic digester.

Last year DELEG supported a research project (PDF) (178 pp, 3.4MB) conducted by Michigan State University; Phase 3 Developments & Investments, LLC; and Sali Group with DOE funding to identify locations with large amounts of waste agricultural residuals and conduct biogas assays to determine if the sites have good potential for renewable energy production.

Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) Announces Award Winners

In October 2009, IREC presented the State of Michigan with an Innovation Award in the state government category for creating the Department of Energy, Labor and Economic Growth (DELEG). The Department is a newly reorganized state agency that aligns all activities related to renewable energy and energy efficiency and incorporates aspects of the state's Department of Agriculture related to biofuels, biogas, and biomass, as well as those of the Department of Environmental Quality that are related to energy policy, efficiency, alternative energy, green programs and practices, and the Michigan Public Service Commission.

WE Energies, an electric service provider for parts of Wisconsin and Michigan, received an Innovation Award for its Renewable Energy Research and Development Grant Program that partnered with Marquette University and University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. With Marquette University, enriched cultures for anaerobic digesters were developed to return an anaerobic digestion system to normal parameters after an upset condition, as well as to increase the rate and amount of methane production.

Source: Jane M. Weissman, "IREC Announces Award Winners," RenewableEnergyWorld.com, October 26, 2009.

Washington

Washington State University's Climate Friendly Farming Team won a USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Partnership Award. Climate Friendly Farming is designed to explore how agriculture can move from a source of greenhouse gases to a sink for carbon with the goal of mitigating global warming. One of the team's innovations is an anaerobic digester that uses cow manure to collect methane gas, which can then be used to generate electricity or to fuel vehicles. Another example is their research on how solid fibers from anaerobic digestion can be treated and used as a replacement for peat in potting mixes as a potential source of additional revenue.

Source: Washington State University, "WSU Climate Friendly Farming Team Wins National Innovation Award," October 5, 2009.

Western Washington University's Vehicle Research Institute received a $500,000 ARRA-funded grant from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of an award to Puget Sound Clean Air Agency's Clean Cities Coalition. Some of the funding will be used to purchase new engines to allow three buses to transport people to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver running on biomethane. The fuel will be produced from an anaerobic digester located at the Van Haak Dairy in Lynden, Washington, which is fitted with a scrubber to remove the hydrogen sulfide and other contaminants from the methane and allow its use in a vehicle's combustion engine.

Source: Western Washington University, "WWU's Vehicle Research Institute Awarded $500,000 Grant from the U.S. Department of Energy," September 3, 2009.

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Online Resources

GTI Pipeline Quality Biomethane Reports

In October 2009, the Gas Technology Institute released final reports related to its research on pipeline quality biomethane. North American Guidance Document for Introduction of Dairy Waste Derived Biomethane provides a comprehensive study and guidance document for anaerobic digester developers interested in producing pipeline quality renewable natural gas. The report also provides an overview of all of the issues involved in producing pipeline quality biomethane from dairy manure.

Economic Study of California Dairy Digesters

In October 2009, the California Energy Commission issued Economic Study of BioEnergy Production from Digesters at California Dairies (PDF) (139 pp, 1.1MB). The report sets forth cash-flow financial analyses for nine dairy biogas digester projects installed under the California Dairy Power Production Program that are sized under 1 MW and produce electricity on site. It projects other possible energy production scenarios, including production of pipeline quality gas. The authors found that without a subsidy, the nominal levelized cost of bioenergy was above market rates. They concluded that further research and field operation of anaerobic digestion biogas systems for dairy farms are needed to reduce capital costs and operating expenses and to improve efficiency to become more economically attractive.

Updated Wisconsin Agricultural Biogas Casebook

In November 2009, Focus on Energy published a new edition of the Wisconsin Agricultural Biogas Casebook (PDF) (93 pp, 2.48MB), which describes the history and daily operations of 17 Wisconsin farms operating anaerobic digester systems. Written by Joe Kramer of the Energy Center of Wisconsin, the report is designed as an educational tool for those interested in evaluating similar technologies for use at their farm. The document was developed using interviews with digester owners about their experiences, ideas, and innovations that could support the development of other digesters.

Connecting to the Grid

In October 2009, IREC released its sixth edition of Connecting to the Grid (PDF) (51 pp, 1.9MB), which provides an introduction to topics that relate to grid-tied renewable energy sources. The sixth edition includes information on IREC's updated model procedures, alternative billing arrangements for net metering, and energy storage. The guide provides a look at renewable energy policy and technical considerations as well as the necessary background information needed to interpret them. It is designed for state regulators and other policymakers, utilities, industry representatives, and consumers interested in the development of state-level interconnection and net metering policies.

Freeing the Grid

In November 2009, the Network for New Energy Choices, a non-profit that promotes policies that ensure safe, clean, and environmentally responsible energy options, published Freeing the Grid (PDF) (112 pp, 2.4MB). This report describes the current status of both net metering and interconnection policies within the United States and highlights those programs most supportive of renewable energy.

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Funding Opportunities

Iowa Power Fund, Deadline: Pre-Application, February 1, 2010 and April 1, 2010

The Iowa Legislature appropriated $25 million to the Iowa Power Fund for fiscal years 2009 through 2011. The Power Fund was created to further the goals of increasing the research, development, production, and use of biofuels and other sources of renewable energy to improve energy efficiency and reduce GHG emissions. Applicants may be businesses, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, state and local governments, and other organizations. Details regarding the Iowa Power Fund, including eligibility and application requirements, can be found on the Iowa Office of Energy Independence Web Site.

International Methane Recovery Projects, Deadline: April 15, 2010

The Methane to Markets Partnership has issued a request for proposals to fund projects and activities that advance methane recovery and use as a clean energy source. This solicitation is RFP #: EPA-OAR-CCD-10-02-03: "Activities that Advance Methane Recovery and Use as a Clean Energy Source." EPA expects to award up to thirty-five cooperative agreements through this announcement, at $100,000 to $750,000 per award. Successful proposals will support the Partnership's Action Plans and advance project development in the following Methane to Markets Partner countries: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Mongolia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, and Vietnam. Additionally, proposals will be accepted for projects in developing countries or countries with economies in transition that are in the process of applying to join the Partnership.

Section 1603 Renewable Energy Grants, Deadline: October 1, 2011

Under Section 1603 of ARRA, the U.S. Department of the Treasury can reimburse taxpayers eligible for the business energy investment tax credit with a cash payment of up to 30 percent of the construction and installation costs of the facility, as long as the facility is depreciable or amortizable. By receiving payments under Section 1603, applicants are electing to forego renewable energy production tax credits and investment tax credits. Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued guidance to establish the procedures for applying for payments under the Section 1603 program and to clarify the eligibility requirements under the program. To be eligible, the facility must be placed in service in 2009 or 2010, or construction must begin in either of those years and be completed prior to the end of 2013. ARRA established an October 1, 2011, application deadline for the grant. Companies interested in applying for the program can visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury website for more information.

REAP Applications Are Being Accepted

USDA Rural Development State Offices are accepting applications for Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) grants and loan guarantees. REAP (Section 9007 of the 2008 Farm Bill) provides incentives for the development/construction of renewable energy projects, such as anaerobic digester projects. REAP renewable energy grants can provide up to 25 percent of eligible project costs, up to $500,000. Loan guarantees or grant and loan guarantee combinations are capped at 75 percent of eligible project costs. Livestock producers and rural small businesses are eligible for funding. For all projects, the system must be located in a rural area, must be technically feasible, and must be owned by the applicant.

Application materials may be obtained by contacting your USDA Rural Development State Office. Although USDA has not released state allocations or set the deadline for applying for this fiscal year's funding, the Agency is encouraging candidates to submit their applications early.

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Upcoming Events

10th Annual Harvesting Clean Energy Conference
February 7-9, 2010
Kennewick, Washington
Harvesting Clean Energy is a program of Climate Solutions, which focuses on advancing rural economic development through clean energy production. The conference will include break-out sessions on clean energy policy for rural development, energy opportunities and financing for rural landowners, and the use of digesters as biorefineries.

2010 Forum on Energy Efficiency in Agriculture
February 7-10, 2010
Madison, Wisconsin
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy is organizing a forum to discuss advancing programs and policies that can help the agricultural community realize the benefits of more efficient energy use in agricultural operations and processes, as well as sustainability issues. A tour at Crave Brothers Dairy Farm will include discussion about their digester, which generates power for the farm and cheese factory.

On Farm Digestion: Considering the Options
February 16, 2010
Amana, Iowa
The Amana Farms Renewable Energy Center and Iowa State University Extension will be holding a discussion on manure anaerobic digesters at the Iowa Artists Theatre Co. in the Amana Colonies. The program will be followed by a digester tour at the Renewable Energy Center. The three hour program begins at 9:00 a.m. and will contain information on the Amana Farms beef manure digester including goals and objectives, design and installation, and the farm's experiences; feasibility considerations for on-farm manure digesters; manure digester opportunities in Iowa; and digester methane production for carbon credits. Following lunch on your own, tours of the Amana Farms digester will be available at the Renewable Energy Center. The registration fee is $25, and attendees do not need to pre-register, they can register on site.

Methane to Markets Partnership Expo br> March 2-5, 2010
New Delhi, India
The Methane to Markets Partnership is holding its second Partnership Expo for promoting methane recovery and use. Sessions, including an agriculture-specific track, will cover methane capture and use technologies and policy issues, as well as key barriers to project development and how to overcome them. The 2010 Partnership Expo will also include an International Methane Capture Marketplace to showcase potential capture and use project opportunities from Partner Countries around the world.

Canadian Farm and Food Biogas Conference and Exhibition
March 8-12, 2010
Ontario, Canada
The conference will provide the opportunity to learn about and discuss research, technologies, and projects in the biogas production field. There will also be workshops on building biogas systems, technology tours, and an exhibition. The event is being held in conjunction with the 4th Annual Growing the Margins: Green Energy and Economy for the Farm and Food Sectors Conference and Exhibition.

25th Annual BioCycle West Coast Conference
April 12-15, 2010
San Diego, California
This event focuses on composting, organics recycling, renewable energy, and waste diversion. Highlights include optimizing operations of anaerobic digestion facilities, digester biogas conditioning to expand market options, and anaerobic digestion of municipal solid waste organics. There are also pre-conference workshops on anaerobic digestion of municipal solid waste and composting.

2010 Waste-to-Fuels Conference & Trade Show
April 18-20, 2010
Jacksonville, Florida
Sponsored by the Southern Waste Information eXchange and Florida BioFuels Association, this conference provides a forum for informing public and private sectors of the economic and environmental benefits of converting waste materials to alternative fuels, such as biodiesel and ethanol, as well as energy recovery. Tentative presentation areas include: agricultural waste-to-fuels, landfill gas energy projects, and municipal solid waste energy recovery.

5th AgSTAR National Conference
April 27-28, 2010
Green Bay, Wisconsin
AgSTAR's National Conference will be held in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on April 27-28, 2010. The conference will highlight the latest projects, technologies, and financial incentives, and will include technical presentations and exhibits. An optional tour of two local dairy farm digesters will be offered on April 26, 2010.

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