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Digester Power Sales Eyed

by Patricia McCoy, Staff Writer
Capital Press, June 9, 2006

If all goes as planned, Idahoans will receive the power from the first electricity generated by an anaerobic digester in the state early next year.

There are a number of permits still to be obtained, construction to be completed, and a sales agreement still awaiting the approval of the Public Utilities Commission, but March 31, 2007, is the target date for operations to begin, said Sot Chimonas, president of CKTV1, the developer and owner of the project.

"Our company is leasing a four-acre parcel in the middle of a dairy, taking all the manure into a digester capable of generating up to 3.2 megawatts of power," Chimonas said.

The dairyman is Bernie Teunissen, owner of the 2,600-cow Beranna Dairy south of Nampa, Idaho. He reaps the benefit of eliminating odor problems, and potentially being able to sell compost year around, he said.

The manure will be digested, or heated in such a way that the compost will be relatively sanitary, a much better product than raw manure, he said.

CKTV1 will own the project, making the company responsible for maintenance, the engines required to run the digester, and handling the sales of electricity.

Idaho Power Co. has already asked the Idaho PUC to approve its purchase of the projected electrical energy from the anaerobic digester.

If approved, the sale means IPCo. would accept up to 3.2 megawatts from the generator. One megawatt is enough energy to power about 750 homes, according to Gene Fadness, PUC spokesman.

IPCo.'s purchase agreement with CKTV1 is not effective until the PUC approves the agreement and declares all payments IPCo. makes for the energy is allowed as prudently incurred expenses that can be recovered from customers in rates, he said.

The anaerobic digester itself won't be Idaho's first. One has been operating for a year or so in south-central Idaho's Magic Valley, and a second is being built on another larger dairy, Chimonas said.

"My understanding is that those digesters are scrubbing the gas off the manure, making natural gas out of it. Our project takes a different approach in that we burn the gas to make electrical power," he said. "The Magic Valley projects required the dairies to find a way to get their gas into the pipelines of the state's natural gas utility company. It is far simpler to sell electricity as we plan to do. The wires are already there, since every dairy has electrical power to it."

IPCo.'s application to purchase the power is PUC case number IPC-E-06-15. Interested persons may comment on the proposed purchase through June 16. They may e-mail the PUC by accessing its homepage at www.puc.idaho. Click on Comments and Questions, fill in the case number, and enter comments. They can also be mailed to the PUC at P.O. Box 83720, Boise, Idaho, 83720-0074, or faxed to (208) 334-3762.

A full text of documents related to the case are also available on the website. Click on file room, then on electric cases, and scroll down to the above case number, Fadness said.

Patricia McCoy
is based in Spokane.
Digester Power Sales Eyed
Capital Press, June 9, 2006

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