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View Diary: All Infrastructure Is Not Created Equal (284 comments)

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  •  But That Feasibility (6+ / 0-)

    Is based on the farmer underwriting the entire cost of installing the digester, no? If the construction is subsidized, then the economics change pretty drastically, I would think.

    There are also clusters of smaller farms within a couple of miles of one another that could, um, pool their resources, so to speak.

    •  All the farm methane systems in VT are subsidized (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rolfyboy6, mataliandy

      USDA Rural Development grants & loans. State renewable funds in a few cases I believe. And mostly, they have the guaranteed increased revenue stream from the voluntary premium payed by customers.

      (It's not a cheap way to make electricity.)

      This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

      by itzik shpitzik on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 07:37:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yea, But Who Pays (0+ / 0-)

        The loans? That'd be the farmer. Loans aren't really the kind of subsidization I'm talking about.

        Define cheap. Taking methane out of the atmosphere while also producing electricity is pretty valuable to the environment (and carbon offset systems might even make it work economically).

        Is destroying the environment of West Virginia and belching out CO2 from midwest coal-fired power plants cheap?

        And considering there's only a handful of methane systems currently in place in Vermont, their price should drop considerably if they became common. They're far more common in Europe, so they're making them work (the system that was recently installed on a Newport area farm was made in Spain, I believe).

        •  Most of the farms got USDA grants, not loans (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mataliandy, The Sinistral

          Repeat: who's paying, primarily, are the customers in VT who voluntarily pay a very significant premium on top of their power bills. That is a very significant ongoing subsidy and is what makes these projects feasible. Whatever the source of the loans a farmer uses, it's the end use customers who are actually paying it through their premium rate.

          The price will remain high for the simple reason that these systems do not produce a lot of electricity for the capital investment. Their typical size for a large VT farm is 250 kW. I don't think you're ever going to see more than 10 MW or so from VT farms. Vermon't peak usage is 1000 MY and average is about 600.

          Many of the benefits of farm methane are in other areas: manure management, source of bedding, etc. I'm not knocking it, I'm just saying it's a limited source, and the price per kwh will remain high. I recognize the external environmental costs. I'm talking just about the costs of the kwhs.

          This is not what I thought I'd be when I grew up.

          by itzik shpitzik on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:43:24 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

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