Wind power, solar power, and hydroelectric power are among the things the state considers renewable energy resources. The state Senate says manure-power should part of the renewable energy pie, too, raising the possibility that a new small industry might be created.
The Senate agrees with Senator Frank Barnitz that there is great potential for the methane generated by pig, cow, and chicken poop. It has added methane from agricultural waste to the list of resources that can be used to reach the state’s goal of getting two percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources next year. The House still must approve the idea.
Barnitz says some pilot projects are being run at large farm operations now and he says state recognition of poop methane could lead to formation of new kinds of co-ops. “especially if they are in a small location or close geographical location,”
He says the hardware for turning the manure into methane is still pretty expensive but prices drop as the technology advances. Although Barnitz can see manure methane working for individual farmers or small groups of farmers…or big farms…he does not see this kind of methane generation becoming a commercial enterprise anytime soon.