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Vermont Launches 'Cow Power' System 400

Posted by timothy
from the excuse-me-are-you-saying-moo? dept.
odyaws writes "Central Vermont Public Service has launched Cow Power, a system by which power users can opt to buy 25, 50, or 100% of their electricity from dairy farms that run generators on methane obtained from cow manure. Cow Power costs only 4 cents/kWh more than market price, so a household like mine would only pay $5-6/month more at 100% usage. The big question now is whether Vermont-based Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream will use power generated from the manure of cows treated with Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone."
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Vermont Launches 'Cow Power' System

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  • by bcat24 (914105) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:11PM (#15695828) Homepage Journal
    That idea really stinks!
    • by RsG (809189) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:17PM (#15695862)
      I call BS. This is a complete load of manure.
    • A 200W PSU for a computer will consume 144 kWh per month. Just that comp alone would cost $6 extra to run.

      Given that the submitter "odyaws" reports his electricity usage at about 150 kWh/month, that puts him smack in the middle of cheap-ass mom's basement dwellers.

      Either the guy is blowing smoke outta his ass about the true cost, or he's the kind of guy that runs AC off the street lamp.

      Average American person sucks up over 700 kWh/month. Traditional successfull 'geek' household (decent AC, two-car heated ga
      • The average American household uses 5KW across the year. Since heating that two car garage is helping keep America dependent on foreign oil, seems to me that whining about $6 a month to run on local energy is cheapass. Especially while Americans are paying around $3 a gallon for gas in cars that get an average 22MPG, less than 10 years ago.
        • seems to me that whining about $6 a month to run on local energy is cheapass.

          Try $60/month? At average price of $0.10/kWh, $0.04/kWh bull shit surcharge will result in 140% premiums over what consumers would pay.

          How about you ask your parents how much they are already paying for electricity? I will tell you how much my modest household of two spends: $2000+/year at the current rates in CA; +$0.04/kWh will cost me $60+/month.

          10 years ago, from http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/press/press142.html [doe.gov] :
          * The average

        • Two points:

          1. I somehow doubt that there is enough cows even in Vermont to supply the manure needed for all the state residential power consumption.
          2. There is one major problem with Biogas - it has a very high sulphur content. It will be interesting how did they get around this. 'cuse if they did not the environmental cost of this will be enormous.
        • by Ogemaniac (841129)
          I can and do offset the carbon emissions from my small truck for $50/year, and get all of my energy from green sources (mostly wind and biomass) by paying an extra 1.6 cent/kwhr.

          I am almost completely green for $120 a year. Why aren't you?

          50% of people (and 99% percent of liberals) whine about the environment, and what the government should do to force everyone else (especially big business) to do something about it. 1% do something avoid hypocrisy and do something themselves.

          Join the one percent
    • sounds like a load of shit to me...
    • "It stinks!"

      Jon Lovitz??? Is that you?!
  • by Digitus1337 (671442) <`moc.liamtoh' `ta' `sutigid_kl'> on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:11PM (#15695832) Homepage
    Who would want to pay more for crappy power?
  • by humankind (704050) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:14PM (#15695848) Journal
    Way to go... let's marginalize every single attempt to seek out alternative power sources. This way we can be married to oil for that much longer. Look on the bright side.. your kids get to see the middle east.
    • want to stop using oil? use more oil. the more oil you use, the quicker it runs out.
      • by RsG (809189) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:57PM (#15695990)
        What to quit smoking? Smoke all the cigarrettes in your current pack right now. After all, the more you smoke, the faster they run out, right?

        I'll leave aside the global warming debate (which will only bring flames) and focus on the economic and technological side of things. Depending entirely on a problematic, finite fuel source and saying to ourselves that "we'll quit when it becomes neccesary, and not a moment sooner" is essentially procrastinating and pretending the problem isn't there.

        The simple facts are:
        1) We have a finite supply of easily tapped oil. We have larger, but still finite supplies of less easily extractable sources of oil (like tar sands).
        2) Our demand for the aformentioned oil is increasing.
        3) We have no oil eqivalents yet that can take it's place. Nuclear isn't good for small vehicles. Solar/wind/hydro/etc are good for local power generation and little else. Fuel cells require either hydrocarbons or cheap electricity.
        3) We will need to find another source of fuel eventually, whether in 10 years or 50.

        None of these are in dispute, right? Unlike global warming, there isn't even any debate in the oil industry, much less the scientific world. All of these facts are easily demonstrated.

        Now given that, why on earth would we wait til we've used our exisitng oil supplies up? For one thing, we do use oil for a lot more than just fuel, so we don't want to run out too soon even if we do develop a non-fossil fuel alternative. For another, we already have the technology to start tackling this problem now, even if it'll take years to completely kick the habit.

        Waiting until we're almost out is a recipe for disaster. It's akin to quiting smoking once you've started coughing up blood. What if it runs out on us and we're still 10 or 20 years away from having a viable plan B? Do you really think a massive economic recession in the future is better than a taking a few expensive steps in the right direction today?

        Saying "use more oil, the more you use the quicker it runs out" is ridiculous and irrational. I honestly hope you were joking, but even if you are, I've seen plenty of other people express the same idea as a serious solution. Complacancy is an extremely bad idea when you can see a disaster coming.

        And like I said, all of the above is true regardless of global warming or the environment.
        • I'll leave aside the global warming debate (which will only bring flames)

          Was the flames a global Warming joke?

          -ed
        • Generally, I believe the market is going to sort this problem out. What's the cheapest source of portable energy at the moment? OIL. Is it getting more expensive? YES. As the cost of oil rises, more and more people are looking for acceptable, viable alternatives. Eventually they will be found and implemented to an acceptable level. Has this happened yet? No, because it's not cheap to come up with a complete paradigm shift. BUT, the shift will eventually become economically necessary - barring complete market failure. I'm not ruling market failure out, but considering that renewable and clean and other more healthy forms of energy are becoming mainstream at a slow pace, I'd say market failure is not really a complete given yet.

          If global warming, however, is as dangerous as advertised, well, then we have a market failure. But I don't think gasoline is going to be what causes it.
          • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @02:16AM (#15696286)
            The market tends to be a reactive, rather than proactive, solution. That makes it ideal for short term adaptation and blind effeciency, but terrible for problems that are urgent and require long term investment - and this is the latter.

            What we need to do now is mostly R&D and prototype work. When and if those pan out, then the free market takes over; even a less than totally cheap solution can be competative if it has advantages otehr than price, and "green" marketing is exactly the sort of thing that can make up for the difference in price.

            However, as is usually the case, the groundwork can't wait for the free market to take an interest. We won't get alternative fuels without someone doing research into possible sources and people building prototypes that might or might not work. There's no gain in that if you're a for-profit corporation. Money takes the path of least resistance; trying to get it to flow somewhere that's not conductive to profit is like trying to get a lightling strike on a street level object in manhattan.
          • by Instine (963303) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @05:17AM (#15696657)
            Generally, I believe the market is going to sort this problem out.

            Just like it sorted out Katrina? This blind faith in the economy is THE biggest problem we face on this issue. Because not only will people keep rationalising doing nothing, using this argument, but also it is seen by so many intelligent people as being a solution. It is not. It is doing nothing. The markets are driven by greedy bankers and speculators. They do like a long bet sometimes, but usually they're after a quick buck. Plus they don't have the expertise to predict the fallout from a slow but final oil crisis. When they do invest in a long term payoff, they want it to be rock solid. When it goes bad, they'll just invest in the next best "stable" investment (copper, grain, water....). They will not switch their vast accounts over to biodeisel.

            The government MUST force the hand of industry, for the betterment of the majority! Such situations are rare, but this one is clear to me.
        • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @02:58AM (#15696367)
          Actually, nuclear is a good match for vehicles.

          If you read US Patent # 4,835,433, you'll see that a device about the size of a keg of beer will crank out about 7500 W for 29.1 years, if you put a small amount of Strontium-90 in it (one gram - about 2mm of 16 gauge wire worth of material). Since Strontium-90 is generally considered nuclear waste these days, it's very easy to "mine" it out of our current waste dumps. If you want something smaller, then something the size of a "D" battery will crank 75 W for the same amount of time.

          Even if you don't want to carry it around with you (it emits only alpha and beta particles, not gamma, so it doesn't actually require heavy lead shielding), you can use the electricity generated to generate fuel for use in fuel cells, if you'd rather carry around something combustible with you, instead of a keg of beer with neck-bolts.

          What really annoying about the whole nuclear fear in the U.S. is that it's really a very green source of energy. You get more radiation released into the atmosphere from a coal-fired plant, not to mention the sludge for your lungs to filter ut of the air. If the U.S. would follow the lead of France and Japan, and build breeder reactors, and did fuel cycling like Japan does, we could stop digging for more fuel (it'd be generated as a by product of the reactor running), and it'd never be in a form where it could be used to build a nuclear weapon.

          -- Terry
          • by RsG (809189) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:49AM (#15696463)
            While I'm not disagreeing with you on the whole "nuclear is better for the environment than fossil fuels" idea here, I gotta say, you'd have to be batshit fecking crazy to want to use Sr-90 as a fuel source.

            This stuff will give you bone cancer [wikipedia.org]. Not exactly what I'd want to put under the hood of every car in the world, especially when accidents are so common. Plus, there's the whole "spontainiously combusts in the open air" business.

            I'd think you'd get better results using nuclear plants to generate hydrogen from water using high-temperature electrolysis - that way you centralize your nuclear waste and fuel. You wouldn't really want a mini-generator in every home or every car for the reasons listed above, but regulated and properly governed nuke plants have a solid safety record.

            The problem with that of course is it's a huge overhaul of our transportation system.
            • Because, after all, gasoline and oil don't cause any sorts of medical problems when burned in incredibly large quantities non-stop for 75+ years straight.

              A well built reactor could have FAR more than adequate shielding to prevent escape of either the beta radiation or the Sr90 itself (where the bone cancer comes in...it gets absorbed as Ca and then is an internal and localized beta emitter). Hyping up the danger of this while ignoring the danger of 10-40 gallons of explosive liquid in every car on Earth, w
    • by Velox_SwiftFox (57902) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:33PM (#15695916)
      I'm looking forward to cow-tipping being classed as a terrorist attack on the energy supply.
    • Way to go... let's marginalize every single attempt to seek out alternative power sources. This way we can be married to oil for that much longer. Look on the bright side.. your kids get to see the middle east.

      All the same...

      There are questions worth asking:

      Methane gas has been killing american farmers for generations. Fatalities Attributed to Methane Asphyxiain (in) Manure Waste Pits -- Ohio, Michigan, 1989 [cdc.gov]

      The up-front costs for the farmer can be huge. From Waste to Profit [retrobbs.org] (1988)

      If I were the cynica

  • bull shit....
  • New math? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chuckfee (93392) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:21PM (#15695877)
    $0.04 per kwh on top of the regular rates is about 50% higher.
    I think someone misplaced a decimal point. I use about 1500
    kwh per month. This extra cost would be $60 per month, not $6.

    It would be cheaper to pay farmers not to farm than to come
    up with kooky schemes like this that pay them twice - once for
    their crazy milk subsidies then again to get rid of the methane
    gas that it produces.

    We might as well run power plants fueled by combusting dollar bills.
    • Where I am, the power is just under 4.4 cents per hw/hour from 8AM to 10PM (peak) and 2.4 cents off peak most of the year. (June, July, and August is about 5.2 cents.) While I would certainly welcome clean power, doubling my power bill is a hard pill to swallow. Now if only the IRS allowed the difference in tax credits, you bet!
      • Just read their (CowPower guys) own FAQ page... it's NOT deductible as a donation (was wondering myself a bit earlier).
      • Vermont has expensive electricity, and once the long-term HydroQuebec contracts expire, it will only be more so. Here in Burlington, I'm paying over 6 cents per KWH, without including other fees. CVPS probably has higher rates. I personally think this is a neater dairy subsidy than just making us all pay more for milk, but the problem is that it's just one farm. So go buy some artisan cheese and Ben and Jerries, too.
    • power plants fueled by combusting dollar bills.

      GENIUS!

    • Re:New math? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by plover (150551) * on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @12:40AM (#15696090) Homepage Journal
      It would be cheaper to pay farmers not to farm than to come up with kooky schemes like this that pay them twice

      The point of subsidies such as this is that it may provide incentive to other "green" energy producers to hook up to the grid. My electric co-op offers a similar sort of deal: I can pay a premium for blocks of 100kWh of wind-generated power per month.

      Most of these schemes that I'm familiar with are for otherwise "free" energy: solar or wind power (or now reclaimed methane.) They are trying to offer these producers a limited time subsidy to help offset the startup costs. A 1mW wind generator costs about one million U.S. dollars to get up and running. Unless you get help with the interest up front, it will take quite a while to get that ROI back.

      The radio recently reported that my state, Minnesota, published a paper showing that if windmills were erected at all the economically feasible points in the state, our generating capacity would exceed our current consumption by a factor of fourteen. That would mean total independence from fossil fuels for electric production for a long time to come. Just think what that would do towards stabilizing the price of energy, especially when compared to OPEC's cartel.

      Remember, the "energy industry" isn't a single entity. The electric power companies have no particular love for the oil or coal companies. (Certainly mine doesn't, as it's a member-owned non-profit co-op.) They're business partners, and nothing more. Being forced to constantly raise their rates to compensate for the costs of fuel and seeing no profit from the increased prices has not instilled friendship. If they can do anything to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it lowers their costs as much as anybody else's.

      Sure, it's "extra" profit for the small energy producers. But it helps reduce dependence on foreign energy, and could eventually replace it at a much more stable price.

      • Most of these schemes that I'm familiar with are for otherwise "free" energy: solar or wind power (or now reclaimed methane.) They are trying to offer these producers a limited time subsidy to help offset the startup costs. A 1mW wind generator costs about one million U.S. dollars to get up and running. Unless you get help with the interest up front, it will take quite a while to get that ROI back.
        You also have mechanical parts, hence wear and tear, leading to maintenance overhead as well.

        Still, back in the
      • by Tim (686)
        That would mean total independence from fossil fuels for electric production for a long time to come. Just think what that would do towards stabilizing the price of energy, especially when compared to OPEC's cartel.

        You do realize that the majority of US electric power is generated by burning domestically-mined coal, right?
  • Why pay more ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tibike77 (611880) <tibikegamez@yaho ... m minus language> on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:23PM (#15695884) Journal
    Ok, I get the whole "pay a bit more because it's a GoodThing(TM)" concept, but as a marketing strategy it stinks (forgive the pathetic pun).

    So let me get this straigth: you (the consumer) enrols to receive a percentage of your "power" from these guys (up to 100% only from them), and all your money (including the extra 4 cent per kWh, no idea how much the actual price per kWh you have, but I personally pay only about 10-15 cent per kWh, so an extra 4 cent would increase my bill easily by 30% or more) and only "markert price" (no idea how that much that is, but definetely way less than what you get charged as end-user) goes directly to the "manufacturer".

    In other words, you basically just make a donation to the "cow power" people, but a donation that's not regarded as donation per se (well, it doesn't specify that, I was just assuming).
    So what's stopping you from just using regular power and donating as much $$$ as you want directly to the people involved ?
    • by patio11 (857072)
      ... there is no way you can actually draw power specifically from the farm. Electricity flows into The Grid, it flows out of The Grid, but once its on the Grid it doesn't care whether its coal, nuclear, cow flatulence, whatever -- there are no special ways to flavor an electrical charge. So what you're really doing is making a donation to the Cow Power farm to put a little juice back onto the grid... when they get paid already for doing that (you can, too: most states will let you bill the electric compan
      • It's true: the electrons are fungible. You're getting plain old electricity from the grid, and paying a premium which goes (more or less) to the cow people.

        But the cow people won't produce it for the rates the electric company is willing to pay them. It's more expensive to produce a watt-hour of juice from cow-fart than it is from coal. Without the subsidy they're paid based on the fossil-fuel rates, and they lose money. This is a way for people to say, economically, "Non-fossil fuel power is more important
    • Re:Why pay more ? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kadin2048 (468275) <`ten.yxox' `ta' `nidak.todhsals'> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @12:06AM (#15696010) Homepage Journal
      Because unlike just writing some farmer a check, this actually encourages/ensures that they're doing something environmentally important with the money. (Or something that you, the theoretical buyer of said power, thinks is environmentally important.)

      If I want to encourage certain behavior -- in this case, the use of Green power -- it makes more sense for me to pay you to do that behavior, than it does for me to just give you some cash for being yourself.

      So yes, it's basically a donation to a bunch of farmers, but it's a donation to a bunch of farmers in return for doing something that assumedly you think is important (if you're participating).
    • Ok, I get the whole "pay a bit more because it's a GoodThing(TM)" concept, but as a marketing strategy it stinks (forgive the pathetic pun).

      Just like hybrid cars. Pay more, but bask in the glow of personal 'greenness'.
    • by glesga_kiss (596639) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @03:30AM (#15696418)

      Over here in good old-jock-land, we've been doing this for years. When we are not drinking whiskey we are building hydroelectric dams and wind power farms. Several of the electicity companies offer schemes where you pay a little more for your energy, but get a guarantee that it's coming from green sources.

      It's not the feel-good factor or the money that's important. What matters is that you aren't pissing in your childrens swimming pool.

  • Forrest Gump did this first.
  • Bovine Biofuel (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Onuma (947856)
    This is really a mooving story.

    But seriously, it's about time people started doing things like this en masse. We waste a shitload of resources we could otherwise make use of on a daily basis (no pun intended). If this catches on and becomes more widespread across the dairy sections of the country, and perhaps the world, people will quickly start looking at how to use other resources to their advantage - how about the methane from other farm animals, or perhaps human waste passing through sewers? Admit
  • MasterBlaster runs Maine.

    But seriously, it's pretty cool that a utility is playing friendly with independent energy producers like this. I wonder if the individual farms are paid the premium rate for their renewable energy, or what the deal is.

  • by carlmenezes (204187) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:38PM (#15695935) Homepage
    Feed the cows lots of beans.
  • Economy! (Score:2, Troll)

    To be honest, I don't care about the environment. I ride my bike because it's cheap, not because it saves trees and whales and penguins (or, for that matter, humans).

    Given the way market forces work, it wouldn't surprise me if this eventually fell to a price comparable with regular power, and stopped billing seperately. I mean, seriously, what else are they going to do with this stuff?

  • by Eternal Vigilance (573501) on Monday July 10, 2006 @11:41PM (#15695950)
    The Bush Administration emissions could power the entire planet!

    (And who knew Al Gore had such incredible ecological foresight in not contesting the 2000 election?)
  • Dirty Fuel? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by uarch (637449)
    I generally have better things to do than read up about burning cow poo but I'm curious about one thing...

    I'm assuming this is marketed towards people who want some sort of "green energy" powering their homes. Is this really a clean(er) fuel source?

    Sure, burning your favorite fossil fuel on a large scale isn't exactly clean. It is however heavily regulated and uses countless filters & scrubbers to clean up most of the nasty by-products. I'd be tempted to believe that a random milk farmer burning a fe
  • by jpellino (202698) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @12:01AM (#15696000)
    I have a commemorative "Vermont's Swinest" Ben and Jerry's T-shirt (complete with holstein styled pigs), they made them when they started a deal to supply a local pig farm (I believe near the Waterbury plant) with milk waste.
    The milk waste would be fed to the pigs along with the ususal feed, I don't recall where the pig waste / methane was headed.
    IIRC The first three pigs, by contract, were to be named "Ben", "Jerry" and "Ed" in honor of Ben Cohen, Jerry Greenfield and Ed Stanek - the Vermont EPA official who brokered the deal.
    When I worked on the old NSF Student Originated Studies program, one of the 1980 projects out of Iowa was to use manure methane to fire a still, ferment leftover corn waste into alcohol, feed the leftovers from the fermentation back into the pig feed, and use the alcohol in the machinery. Decent efficiencies in the pilot, but a hard sell to the farmers, as they needed smaller farms to go in together to get the delta-t they needed for peak efficiency, and it smacked of big entities twisting little family farm arms. In fact despite the NSF badge, it was just a bunch of undergrads, but still no sale.
  • ...if it takes 10 calories of gasoline to make one calorie of crop, and that food is used to feed cows, which use more gasoline, this doesn't sound like too much of a sustainable bit of agriculture.

    Of course, that gasoline would be used anyway in the production of these crops, milk, meat and byproducts, and that gasoline can be replaced by some other energy storage medium... but it seems to me that the onus is still on replacing gasoline and other fossil fuels, not burning whatever waste we can find and cal
    • by vtcodger (957785)
      ***That, and the removal of potentially massive ammounts of manure from our agricultural system doesn't sound like a sound investment in a sustainable agriculture either. But that's a consideration further down the path of long-term sustainability, and a fairly minor one in the current scope.***

      The manure isn't removed from the agricultural system. The stuff is piled -- mostly over the Winter because the cows spend most of their time in the fields when the weather isn't too awful. It is spread on the fi

  • I'm all for alternative energy sources but this is a little nuts. Even if it really is only a few bucks more every month, I really don't want to "donate" money to my neighbors who are already pretty well off.

    Granted not every farmer is sitting pretty, but most of the farmers I know that have the money to invest in methane-harvesting technology are alreaddy pretty wealthy. And this is just another way to get them higher up on the list.

    I'm far more likely to support my farmers by going to the local Farmer's
    • Re:Uhh... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by glesga_kiss (596639)

      I'm all for alternative energy sources but this is a little nuts. Even if it really is only a few bucks more every month, I really don't want to "donate" money to my neighbors who are already pretty well off.

      YEAH! Cos like, the domestic farm industry is litteraly rolling in money, right? In actual fact they need government subsidies and regulation to stay afloat. That's the simple matter of it.

      And if the best you can do is "bad because someone receives money from it", then how the hell do you live your

  • by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms.gmail@com> on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @01:21AM (#15696162) Homepage Journal
    I really have to put in a plug for hemp (biomass). I'll not insult you with my IIRC facts, since I can so easily insult you with a quick google search for methane hemp [google.com]. I'll tell you what I've personally seen though, a field of 7 foot Canadian Hemp [google.com] (on the road to Blenheim from Rondeau Provincial Park [rondeauprovincialpark.ca]) growing so thickly you couldn't force yourself 6 inches into them. All long stems just perfect for industrial use [hemptrade.ca] and not a damn thing even close to smokable. Now on with the mini cut and paste, see "more" links for the rest.

    more [petitiononline.com] This one has a tons of facts covering replacing various industrial materials, historical uses, etc.
    * Farming 6% of the continental U.S. acreage with biomass crops (Hemp) would provide all of America's Energy needs.
    * Biomass can be converted into methane, methanol, or gasoline (which could eliminate our ties with the Middle East) at a cost comparable to petroleum and hemp is much better for the environment.
    * Hemp fuel burns clean. Petroleum causes acid rain due to sulfur pollution.
    * One acre of hemp can produce as much usable fiber as 4 acres of trees or two acres of cotton.
    * Trees cut down take 50-500 years to grow, while hemp can be cultivated in as little as 100 days and can yield 4 times more paper over a 20 year period.

    more [thehempfactory.com] Much shorter page but some others on the site are good reading.
    There are many interesting facts about hemp such as Van Gogh and Rembrandt painting on hemp canvasses, and also painting with hemp paints. Benjamin Franklin used hemp in the first paper mill, and Henry Ford thought methane, not gasoline, should be used to fuel cars. Biomass can be converted to methane (ethanol) at a fraction of the costs of oil, coal, or nuclear energy. (Imagine world politics if oil was off the table?) Wretchedly, the world swathed its destructive path, cutting down trees for paper, when hemp could have been harvested every three or four months, and, by using petro-chemicals instead of methane, at untold costs to our planet.
    Jonah HEX
  • by rjoseph (159458) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @01:26AM (#15696180) Homepage
    Vermont is one of the poorer states in the nation, where a large percentage of the population has serious trouble during the winter heating their homes. But at the same time, Vermont has dairy farms every where you look, it's one of the dominant traits of the landscape. Might as well use what you've got!

    Also, kudos to the people who thought to start this program in the summer, give it time to work out all the kinks. I've always admired Vermont for their forward-looking thinking, after all the yeller Howard Dean was their gov'na for long time (and despite his unfortaunte public persona, he's got great ideas too).
  • I mean, think about it... this will change the face of Science Fiction forever...

    I can just imagine it:
    In Star Trek: Cows in Space -- "We've lost anti-manure containment... Ahhhh!!!"
  • by plopez (54068) on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @08:13AM (#15697291) Journal
    New Belgium brewing http://www.newbelgium.com/sustainability.php [newbelgium.com] not only uses wind turbines, but also harvests methane from their waste water used in brewing. Between the 2, they claim to be fully sustainable in energy, using zero fossil fuels.
  • Wind power (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mknewman (557587) * on Tuesday July 11, 2006 @10:26AM (#15698330)
    I recently changed my plan here in Houston, Tx from Reliant Energy's standard plan to their 100% wind power. The difference in cost was negligable, maybe $5/month, and now my 2000-3000kw/h per month are totally green. They replace at least 100% of the energy I use with wind power. I figure this is about 2/3 of my total carbon footprint I have reduced in one swoop, and I have cast my vote for clean energy.

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