CVPS proposes innovative renewable plans, grantsRUTLAND, Vt. – With CVPS Cow Power(tm) now established and continuing to grow, Central Vermont Public Service has announced proposals to fund and study several innovative renewable energy projects in Vermont.”Despite some raised eyebrows when we first announced our plans for Cow Power, it has quickly become one of the fastest-growing renewable programs in the country,” CVPS President Bob Young said. “We will continue to work with farm owners and customers to expand its economic and environmental reach, but we will also branch into investigations of other technologies, including some equally unique ideas we think could provide significant benefits to Vermont.”CVPS announced proposals, filed with the Vermont Public Service Board, to allocate nearly $500,000 to renewable projects, studies and education efforts. “Through this funding, we hope to make some of these projects as successful as CVPS Cow Power(tm) has already become,” Young said. “Some may unlock valuable new energy technologies.””This is the kind of leadership we need to continue to grow our energy options,” said David O’Brien, commissioner of the Department of Public Service. “As we move forward, we need to examine more innovative solutions as we plan for Vermont’s energy future.”Among the proposed projects are a significant solar project just off Route 7 in Rutland Town, studies of pelletized manure, lake weeds and algae as energy sources, education projects and new southern Vermont biomass generation.Following are the project proposals, which were made with the support of the Department of Public Service, the Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, the Conservation Law Foundation, Biomass Energy Resource Center, Citizens Awareness Network, and Renewable Energy Vermont:* CVPS Solar Demonstration Project ($175,000) – The project includes installation of a 50-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array adjacent to the CVPS Service Center on Route 7 in Rutland Town. The solar project will include about 275 solar panels, each 3 by 5 feet wide. The project, along with Glen Station, a CVPS hydro facility across Route 7, would include a renewable education program where students could learn about two renewable projects at one site. “This is a high-visibility site,” Young said. “We think it could help educate a lot of Vermonters about energy and renewable energy in particular.”* Manure Fuel Pelletization Study ($15,000) – The goal of this project is to identify the value of digested and pre-digested manure solids as a potential pelletized fuel. The Biomass Energy Resource Center will conduct a study comparing undigested and digested manure fibers to other more commonplace biomass fuels such as wood pellets. The study will report on the feasibility of using pelletized manure fibers as a fuel supply in a cogeneration system producing renewable electricity and using waste heat to dry manure fibers for the pelletizing operation.* Weed Transportation/Digester Study ($10,000) – This project would provide funding to the Lake Champlain Restoration Association for the transportation of harvested lake weeds to a Cow Power digester to determine the energy value of this renewable crop. The project would also determine the benefits of nutrient removal from Lake Champlain, including nutrient flows of future increased lake weed harvesting, and algae skimming of problem areas such as the Missisquoi Bay.* Southern Loop Renewable Biomass ($50,000) – This funding, with $24,000 already set aside, would create the CVPS Southern Loop Combined-Heat and Power Development Fund at the Vermont Community Loan Fund. As part of the project, a consultant would be secured to identify barriers to the development of CHP along CVPS’s Southern Loop and seek reasonable solutions to help eliminate such barriers. A project coordinator would develop requests for proposals for up to four small and one large renewable project, and pay for selected project engineering studies.* Workforce Renewables Training ($25,000) – The Workforce Renewables Training Project would be an educational partnership with Stafford Technical Center, Vermont Technical College and the International Brotherhood of Electric Workers. Stafford would expand its electrical curriculum to include renewable installations in a way that could be replicated by other tech centers, and VTC would work to develop a college curriculum around renewable energy installations. The underlying goal is to teach renewable energy installation techniques for the next generation of project installers.* Renewable Energy Education Support ($30,000) – This grant to the Vermont Energy in Education Program (VEEP) would help create a deeper understanding of what energy is and how to use it wisely. VEEP programs will teach math and science process skills to enable students to understand concepts about the technology of energy production and the efficient use of resources.* Vermont Solar and Small Wind Incentive Program ($153,831) – CVPS has contributed to this program annually for several years. The funds support the installation of new small-scale renewable energy systems. With this round of support, CV’s contributions will total nearly $900,000.