Wisconsin Lands Federal Biomass Grants

Focus on Energy, Wisconsin’s statewide energy efficiency and renewable energy initiative, revealed that renewable energy will play a bigger role in the state’s energy mix, thanks to more than US$1.7 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Madison, Wisconsin – September 18, 2003 [SolarAccess.com] The projects funded by these grants will increase the amount of the state’s electricity generated from biogas sources by more than 17 percent and generate more than 35.8 million kWh of electricity each year – enough to power more than 3,700 Wisconsin households. Eleven Wisconsin projects were among the grant recipients announced by U.S. Under Secretary for Rural Development Thomas C. Door on August 25. Wisconsin was one of 24 states to receive the funding, which was authorized through the 2002 Farm Bill. All of the projects involve the installation of anaerobic digesters at farms. These systems convert animal waste or other organic materials to biogas for generating heat and electricity, in addition to substantially reducing odors. According to Focus on Energy, the projects combined, will eliminate the need to burn nearly 43,000 tons of coal and the resulting annual emission of more than 85.9 million pounds of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. That’s the environmental equivalent of removing 5,786 cars from Wisconsin’s roads. “This is a tremendous step forward in the use of renewable energy to meet Wisconsin’s energy needs and continues Wisconsin’s development as a national leader in the use of farm-based anaerobic digesters,” said Larry Krom, manager of business sectors and research and development for Focus on Energy’s Renewable Energy program. “It was possible because Wisconsin has built a network of experts in a variety of fields who were able to identify projects that qualified for the grants and then helped the candidates navigate the challenging application process.” Focus on Energy screened project proposals it had received and encouraged the most promising of the applicants to apply for the USDA grants. It then worked with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection; the USDA; the Wisconsin Technical College System; state utilities; bankers and engineering firms to help applicants complete their proposals. The Wisconsin grant recipients are: – Biopower LLC (Krakow, Wis.) – $179,700 – Burr Oak Hills Dairy / Eugene and Shawn Smith (Clinton, Wis.) – $90,000 – CADC Renewable Energy LLC (Cashton, Wis.) – $200,000 – Dairy Dreams (Casco, Wis.) – $99,950 – Omro Dairy (Omro, Wis.) – $99,950 – Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy LLC (Kewaunee, Wis.) – $99,950 – Quantum Dairy LLC (Weyauwega, Wis.) – $205,991 – Schopf’s Hilltop Dairy LLC (Sturgeon Bay, Wis.) – $240,589 – Suring Community Dairy LLC (Suring, Wis.) – $99,950 – Tidy View Dairy (Kaukauna, Wis.) – $99,950 – Vir-Clair Farms / Gary Boyke (Fond du Lac, Wis.) – $299,580. The fact that Wisconsin had a number of projects in the pipeline and had a network of experts to guide applicants through the process was instrumental in securing the grants, said Focus on Energy. “Applying for grants like this is a complicated, time-consuming process and the timeframe is typically short,” Krom said. “You need to have all of your ducks in a row – from financing to feasibility studies, engineering work, agreements with local utilities and zoning approvals – and then have someone to guide you through the application process. Because the majority of these applicants had already submitted proposals to Focus on Energy, they were well on their way to completing these steps. We were determined to have as many successful applications as possible for the USDA grants.”
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