Cow Power: The Film

Posted on December 4, 2012
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Cow Power: The Film, a new investigative documentary, focuses on the history and science behind the few places in the United States that generate electricity by using biogas, which is converted from cow manure, as fuel to power reciprocal engines equipped with generators.

The film will reveal the down-to-earth story behind the Central Vermont Public Service (CVPS) Cow Power Project. This unique initiative provides grants and technical support to local Vermont dairy farmers who choose to install anaerobic methane digesters on their farms in an effort to reduce electricity costs and carbon footprints.

CVPS and local Vermont dairy farmers are not the only ones involved in this effort. A host of local Vermont businesses such as the LongTrail Brewery, Vermont T’s, Green Mountain College, and Middlebury College have joined other customers in paying a monthly premium to support the project.

The trailer for the film is linked below. The film, which may have a runtime of one and a half hours, is expected be released some time in 2013. For more information, contact:

Media Inquiries | Elizabeth Cormack | Email: | Phone: (703) 774-8287

Other Inquiries | Allison Gillette | Email: | Phone: (802) 855-3229

Or visit the Cow Power: The Film’s website.

Cow Power: The Film Trailer

New USDA Energy Website

Posted on April 25, 2012
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In January 2012, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the launch of a USDA energy website. This new website gives stakeholders and other interested parties access to USDA energy efficiency and renewable energy data, including anaerobic digester projects. This is done in part through new Web-based tools:

The Energy Investments Map, an interactive map that shows users where USDA is providing investment support for renewable and sustainable energy initiatives.

The Renewable Energy Tool, which helps users identify renewable energy opportunities by providing information on land use for producing biomass and energy crops, state and federal policy, and USDA guidelines for financial assistance.

Energy Matrix, a website created to help users find alternative and affordable energy solutions, funding for projects, or available programs and program information.

Source: USDA, “Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Streamlines Access to Energy Investment Information at USDA,” January 18, 2012.

Note: American Biogas Council produced an interactive diagram of the process biogas goes through after it leaves the digester.

Wisconsin Sustainable Planting and Harvest Guidelines for Nonforest Biomass

Posted on November 29, 2011
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Interest in bioenergy is increasing in response to concerns about energy security, energy independence, and environmental and climate impacts associated with use of non-renewable energy resources. The expansion of the biomass energy industry has the potential to benefit Wisconsin’s water resources, wildlife habitat, and agricultural sectors by reducing erosion, providing a market for materials removed during habitat man-agement activities, expanding markets for agricultural products, creating jobs and reducing reliance on non-renewable fuels.

The development of science-based voluntary guidelines, which can be found in this 98-page publication, in advance of widespread biomass planting and harvesting in Wisconsin is intended to help ensure sustainability of and, whenever possible, provide a benefit to the natural resources of the state. These voluntary guidelines will help users make informed decisions about bioenergy production on both public and private lands throughout Wisconsin and help inform policy decisions for future emerging bioenergy programs. Download the report. . .

University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh to establish an on-farm biogas research facility

Posted on August 30, 2011
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Wisconsin’s largest dairy farm will be home to one of Wisconsin’s most dynamic research, renewable energy production and public education facilities as part of an initiative involving the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s College of Letters and Science and UW Oshkosh Foundation.

On Aug. 24, the UW Oshkosh Foundation Board of Directors unanimously endorsed a proposal to pursue an innovative partnership with Milk Source’s Rosendale Dairy and renewable energy companies Viessmann Group and BIOFerm Energy Systems of Madison.

The proposal calls for construction of a large, wet anaerobic biodigester/biogas production facility at the Pickett dairy site. The plant would use the farm’s livestock manure to make energy. It would also operate as a dynamic, collaborative UW Oshkosh student-and-faculty biosolids research and teaching laboratory with an attached public education center. Read more. . .

The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin: 2011 Strategic Plan Report

Posted on April 17, 2011
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According to a recent report, The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin: 2011 Strategic Plan, the state can create wealth and jobs by building a new energy economy. Now is the time to transition the old energy economy, built on coal and petroleum, to homegrown energy sources like biogas and biomass to create power, heat and alternative fuels to drive a new energy economy, the report states. This Wisconsin Biogas Strategic Plan is a tool to allow business leaders and policymakers to discuss how to make it happen.

This report, which is available as a pdf download (5 MB), was developed by the Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative, which was created in 2007 by the University of Wisconsin-Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

Click here to download the report: The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin: 2011 Strategic Plan


The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin, April 28, 2011, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Posted on April 14, 2011
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The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin: 2011 Strategic Plan Briefing and Next Steps

The Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI) invites you to a policy briefing on the findings of three major studies on the biogas to energy opportunities for our state and the Midwest region. The meeting will highlight the release of “The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin: 2011 Strategic Plan.”

Participants will organize plans to take some of the strategic plan recommendations and form working committees to implement the ideas.

Thursday, April 28, 2011
8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Memorial Union, Madison Room

The meeting is free and open to the public and will include lunch. RSVP is required by April 22, 2011. Register now.

Agenda: Joe Kramer from the Energy Center of Wisconsin will present the “Great Lakes Region Food Industry Biogas Casebook.”  There will be presentations on the findings of two reports, “The Biogas Opportunity in Wisconsin: 2011 Strategic Plan” and the “Got Gas? An Analysis of Wisconsin’s Biogas Opportunity” CHANGE-IGERT Capstone program paper.

The remainder of the day will be large and small group sessions to form working committees and divide up next steps projects. ??For more information about the meeting agenda please contact: Gary Radloff.

View parking information. View map.

About WBI: The Wisconsin Bioenergy Initiative (WBI) seeks to cultivate bioenergy expertise among UW-Madison, UW-System and Wisconsin stakeholders to anchor the innovative research that is being conducted within our great state. We are a university-based coalition that helps the talent across Wisconsin create, commercialize and promote bio-based solutions.

NREL publication examines Feed-in Tariffs in promoting renewable energy

Posted on January 30, 2011
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The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewalbe Energy Laboratory (NREL), Golden, CO, published a report in July 2010 on Feed-in tariffs (FITs)—considered to be one of the most widely used policies in the world for accelerating renewable energy (RE) deployment. FITs accounti for a greater share of RE development than either tax incentives or renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies (REN21 2009).

In total, FITs are responsible for approximately 75% of global PV and 45% of global wind deployment (Deutsche Bank 2010). Countries such as Germany, in particular, have demonstrated that FITs can be used as a powerful policy tool to drive RE deployment and help meet combined energy security and emissions reductions objectives (Germany BMU 2007). Download report: A Policymaker’s Guide to Feed-in Tariff Policy Design.

Carbon prices required to make digesters profitable on U.S. dairy farms

Posted on January 29, 2011
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Published by the University of Minnesota, January 2011, the objective of this analysis is to evaluate the impacts of three factors: 1.) Methane emission differences related to climate and manure storage type; 2.) Digester economies of size, and 3.) Electricity values on the minimum breakeven carbon dioxide (CO2)-equivalent methane (CH4) destruction prices that different?sized dairy farms in different U.S. states would require to make anaerobic digester installation profitable. Download the report. . .

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