(Host) The state’s largest power company and a Bridport farm family are sharing the governor’s award for environmental excellence.
Governor Jim Douglas gave the honor to Blue Spruce Farm and the “Cow Power” brand of renewable energy marketed by Central Vermont Public Service Corporation.
CVPS sells the renewable energy produced by a methane digester on the Blue Spruce Farm.
Company spokesman Steve Costello said the Audet family of Blue Spruce Farm deserve credit for being pioneers in the clean energy field.
(Costello) “They took a lot of risk, a lot of chances when others were looking at it and saying yeah maybe, but wanting to watch someone else go first. But being the first ones off the plank is always the most difficult. They really have been a great model for other farmers. They have invited literally thousands of people to their farm to see how it works. And their efforts have really given confidence to other farmers who are coming behind them.”
(Host) Customers pay a premium of 4 cents-a-kilowatt-hour for the electricity.
The money goes either to participating farmers, into a renewable development fund, or to purchase renewable energy credits when there isn’t enough cow power available.
Costello said the utility launched the cow power brand with no guarantee that customers would support it.
(Costello) “And the fact that they are and that they’re making these environmental benefits available to other farmers, more and more farmers all the time is what this is really all about in my mind.”
(Host) Two farms are now producing Cow Power, with four more expected to be online this year.
The environmental benefits include reduced greenhouse gases and improved manure management.
The farms also use less electricity or fossil fuels because heat can be captured from the generator to produce hot water.