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Biogas Plant may get Partner

by Chris Collins, Herald Writer
The Herald, June 10, 2005

Energy Northwest considers buying into
the Tulalip Tribes' waste energy project near Monroe

MONROE -- Though the Tulalip Tribes helped spearhead the proposal to construct a biogas plant on 277 acres of state-owned land south of Monroe, an organization that serves Snohomish County PUD may foot most of the bill.

Energy Northwest, an umbrella energy organization that has 16 area public utility representatives on its board of directors, is considering owning the bulk of the project, said Stan Davison, a development specialist for the organization.

Davison said the biogas plant works well with their push for alternative energy sources.

Four local dairy farms, Energy Northwest, an environmental group and the Tulalips are working together to clear the way to construct the biogas plant.

The coalition has to break ground by next spring or else it risks losing $500,000 in U.S. Department of Agriculture funding, Davison said, adding members have some "pretty aggressive deadlines to meet."

Davison, a dozen public officials and a handful of area residents gathered at a public hearing Thursday night in Monroe to listen to input on the plans for the plant. The hearing essentially ended after less than half an hour, and no one spoke against the plans.

The digester - the guts of any biogas plant - is estimated to cost $1.5 million to $2.5 million. It would capture the gas given off as cow manure decomposes. The gas could then be burned to generate electricity, with fertilizer as a byproduct. Both the fertilizer and the electricity could be sold.

If it works, the four dairy farms could eliminate the cost of treating the large amounts of cow manure they generate.

There are 50 to 80 farm biogas digesters in the United States, said Mark Moser, president of Berkeley, Calif.-based RCM Digesters.

Chris Collins, Herald Writer
Biogas Plant may get Partner
The Herald, June 10, 2005

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