Turning manure into electricity has become a viable second income for this Vermont dairy.

Blue Spruce Farm, a 1,000-cow dairy near Bridport, invested in an anaerobic digester as part of their plan to create a close-loop manure management system. And with the help of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation’s Cow Power program they sell excess electricity to CVPS for 95 percent of the wholesale price in the area. The dairy produces enough electricity to power 300 to 400 average-size homes.

In addition to the methane used to create electricity, the anaerobic digestion process also yields a liquid byproduct that is used to fertilize the farm’s crops, and a dry, basically odorless brown substance that is used to bed the cows as well as sold to a local firm that bags and sells it for fertilizer to consumers.

According to the article at WCAX-TV’s web site, electricity sales last year generated an about $120,000 in extra income. When the Audet family adds in its other savings from the project, the family estimates it will be able to recoup its initial $1.2 million investment in about seven years.

CVPS reports that four other dairies have similar projects in the works. Currently 3,000-plus CVPS customers have signed up to pay the 4-cent per kilowatt hour premium to receive their electricity from the Cow Power renewable energy program. For more on the Cow Power program, go to: http://www.cvps.com

To read the complete article, go to: http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=5075635&nav=4QcS