PG&E and BioEnergy Solutions Turn
the Valve on California's First 'Cow Power' Project
Mar 4, 2008 - /PRNewswire-FirstCall
Pacific Gas and Electric Company and
BioEnergy Solutions today announced that their biogas-to-pipeline
injection project in Fresno County has begun production
of renewable natural gas derived from animal waste.
It is the first project in California that will deliver
pipeline-quality, renewable natural gas to a utility.
"With nearly two million dairy cows
in California, there is great potential for the state's
agriculture and power sectors to work together to
address the challenges of climate change," said Roy
Kuga, vice president of energy supply at PG&E. "This
project is yet another example of our company's commitment
to add innovative forms of clean renewable energy
to help meet our customers' future power needs."
Under a long-term contract approved
by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC),
BioEnergy Solutions will deliver up to three billion
cubic feet of renewable natural gas a year to PG&E.
A BioEnergy Solutions system reduces
emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 21 times more
potent than carbon dioxide, by 70 percent on a 5,000-cow
"We have developed an innovative way
to bring dairies and power companies together to generate
a new source of green energy for California," David
Albers, president of BioEnergy Solutions, said. "Using
proven technologies, we design, build and operate
highly-efficient biogas systems that enable dairymen
to meet new air quality requirements and help utilities
meet their goals for the production of energy from
Vintage Dairy, the site of BioEnergy
Solution's first project, is located near the town
of Riverdale in western Fresno County, California.
Manure from the dairy's 5,000 milk-producing cows
and calves is flushed into a covered lagoon -- equal
in size to the area of nearly five football fields
and over three stories deep -- that traps the methane
gas produced as the manure decomposes. The methane
is upgraded, or "scrubbed," to remove corrosive materials
to meet PG&E's industry-leading environmental standards
for power plants and then delivered to PG&E through
the utility's pipeline. PG&E uses the natural gas
to deliver renewable electricity to its customers
in central and northern California.
BioEnergy Solutions is based in Bakersfield
and was founded by David Albers, a third-generation
dairyman who also owns Vintage Dairy. The company
installs at its own expense the infrastructure needed
to collect and process the manure and then pump the
gas into PG&E's pipeline. BioEnergy also shares the
proceeds from the sale of gas and resulting emissions
credits with dairy owners.
PG&E is a leader in utilizing biogas.
In addition to the utility's contract with BioEnergy
Solutions, PG&E is working to cultivate the next generation
of biogas technologies through its biomethanation
research project. This recently launched project explores
emerging biomethanation technologies and processes
that may increase conversion efficiency, expand the
range of usable feedstocks and improve the quality
of biomethane products.
PG&E expects to have 14 percent of
its energy from renewable sources that qualify under
California's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) Program
in 2008. On average, more than 50 percent of the energy
PG&E delivers comes from carbon-free sources, and
the utility now has contracts to provide 20 percent
of its future energy supply from renewable sources.
Qualifying renewable sources in PG&E's portfolio include
solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, and small hydroelectric.
Since July 2007, PG&E has signed renewable
energy contracts totaling 1,024 MW, including 57 MW
of new geothermal energy with Calpine Corporation,
553 MW of solar thermal with Solel-MSP-1, 85 MW of
wind power from PPM Energy, two MW of wave energy
with Finavera Renewables, 177 MW of solar thermal
with Ausra Inc., and 150 MW of wind energy with enXco.
PG&E is still seeking regulatory approval for the
Calpine, Finavera, Ausra and enXco contracts.
California's Renewable Portfolio Standard
(RPS) Program requires each utility to increase its
procurement of eligible renewable generating resources
by one percent of load per year to achieve a 20 percent
renewables goal by 2010. The RPS Program was passed
by the Legislature and is managed by the CPUC and
California Energy Commission.
SOURCE Pacific Gas and Electric Company