California Cow Power


In a state with no shortage of daily manure, Reuters News Service reports that a major utility has signed an agreement to augment its energy supplies with natural gas generated from cow patties. Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E). has signed a deal with Micrology Inc., a subsidiary of Portsmouth, New Hampshire-based Environmental Power Corp., to buy enough biomethane to power an estimated 50,000 homes.

Micrology plans to build four production plants to process manure at dairy farms in California’s Central Valley. Th e plants will be connected to PG&E’s network of natural gas pipelines. Depending upon regulatory approvals, the gas could be flowing by the end of 2007. Micrology already supplies cow gas to Dairyland Power Cooperative in Wisconsin and is making deals with other U.S. utilities to supply gas. If this initial project proves successful, PG&E expects manure-derived gas could make up a large portion of the San Francisco utility’s electricity supply, all of which confirms what the rest of the nation already knows—California is always on the cutting edge of new technologies, even the cow-based variety.


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Linda is responsible for the PERC web sites, media relations, the national journalism conference, and the media fellows program. She is author of Forest Fires, part of a series of  environmental education books for high school students. She also wrote and produced Square One, a newsletter that introduced grassroots environmentalists to market...
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