Thursday, June 23, 2011

Economic feasibility of converting cow manure to electricity: A case study of the CVPS Cow Power program in Vermont
Abstract: A case study of the Central Vermont Public Service Corporation (CVPS) Cow Power program examines the economic feasibility for dairy farms to convert cow manure into electricity via anaerobic methane digestion. The study confirms that it is technically feasible to convert cow manure to electricity on dairy farms but the economic returns highly depend on the base electricity price paid by CVPS, premium rate paid by CVPS customers, financial supports from government agencies and other organizations, and sales of the by-products of methane generation. Lessons learned from this program will be useful to other dairy farms and communities interested in converting cow manure into electricity.

Project viability is affected by the electricity price paid to the farm, the price paid for recovered fibers, which can be used as animal bedding, and the heating fuel savings garnered from captured combustion heat. CVPS customers opt to pay a $0.04 per kWh premium, amounting to over $470k annually, to support local farms participating in the Cow Power program. Grant funding historically covers approximately 1/3 of total project cost, contributing significantly to project viability.

By Ethan Thompson 1, Robert Parson 2, Glenn Rogers 3 and Qingbin Wang 4
1. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405;
2. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405;
3. University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405
4. Department of Community Development and Applied Economics, 205C Morrill Hall; University of Vermont, Burlington, VT 05405; Phone: 802 656-4564, Fax: 802 656-1423,
Agricultural and Applied Economics Association

2011 Annual Meeting, July 24-26, 2011, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; 2 Pages
Keywords: anaerobic digestion, dairy farms, renewable energy, economic feasibility

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