County officials have given the green light to a manure-to-energy distribution network that will involve up to nine dairies near Bakersfield, Calif.
The project will produce renewable natural gas to generate power for utility customers. Construction will begin in early 2009, according to project developer BioEnergy Solutions.
Known as the Shafter cluster for the town where the dairies are located, the project will upgrade manure-generated biogas and deliver it into a nearby Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) pipeline.
"California's dairy community is poised to pioneer the large-scale production of this cleaner, greener form of energy and create a model for agricultural and energy producers nationwide,” said David Albers, president of BioEnergy Solutions and a third-generation dairy producer.
Three of the nine farms already on board to supply biogas to the network are C&R Vanderham Dairy, Inc., Whiteside Dairy and Vermeer and Goedhart Dairy. Their combined herd of 6,500 milk cows is expected to produce 615,000 cubic feet of natural gas a day, enough to generate power for 3,000 California homes, BioEnergy Solutions said.
The company, which builds and operates biogas pipeline facilities in California, will construct an underground pipeline linking the dairies, which are located south of Lerdo Highway between the City of Shafter and Interstate 5. Biogas from the farms will be transported through the pipeline to an upgrade facility located at the Vermeer and Goedhart Dairy on Magnolia Avenue in Shafter.
BioEnergy will pick up the cost of constructing, operating and maintaining the biogas system, said company spokesman Steve Duchesne. Producers will share in a portion of the revenues from energy sales and carbon credits. "The project is saving money for producers on the front end and making money for them on the back end,” Duchesne said.
Learn more at www.allbioenergy.com.
Catherine Merlo is Western editor for Dairy Today. You can reach her at email@example.com.