Montpelier, Vermont – Casella Resource Solutions and Grow Compost have both been awarded Clean Energy Development Fund grants ($139,000 and $131,549 respectively) from the Vermont Public Service Department (PSD) for two pilot projects to demonstrate the anaerobic digestion of food scraps.
PSD collaborated with the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) and the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to design the program and develop the agreements with the two companies. PSD also worked with Green Mountain Power who contributed $70,000 of refunded nuclear insurance monies to allow the PSD to make it possible to support the two projects to advance statewide renewable energy and recycling goals.
Both projects will use funds to collect and process leftover food scraps from businesses and institutions and deliver them to farm-based anaerobic digesters where they will be used to produce heat and power. Casella will bring material to the digester at Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport and Grow Compost is delivering to Vermont Technical College’s digester in Randolph.
“To meet our state’s energy needs we need to find sources of sustainable and environmentally sound power. The Public Service Department is pleased to be able to support not only renewable energy generation, but also on-farm anaerobic digestion and food scrap recycling,” said Christopher Recchia, Commissioner of the Public Service Department.
“Vermont agriculture has led the nation in many ways. For instance, we have more on-farm manure digesters compared to our number of cows than any other state. These two pilot projects will help create a new model to guide how food scraps can be used as a safe and valuable resource for farmers who operate digesters, keeping Vermont’s farmers at the forefront of renewable energy,” said Chuck Ross, Secretary of the Agency of Agriculture.
“These are two great projects,” stated Deborah Markowitz, Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources. “Vermont’s Universal Recycling law sets the stage for Vermonters to take valuable materials – like food scraps – out of our waste stream. Anaerobic digestion will let us use these materials to produce heat and power. What a great way to demonstrate the multiple benefits from recycling our natural resources: projects like these not only produce renewable energy, but they save on our limited landfill space, they promote clean water and help us fight climate change through reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”
For more information about Universal Recycling, visit www.recycle.vermont.gov or contact your local solid waste management entity.