Gail Busch and Mark Hoffman of Algeponics Inc. explain their patented algae-growing operation at the Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport. A proposed CVPS grant would help cover operating costs as the company determines optimum conditions for growing algae, which could be used to produce electricity as a supplement in Cow Power digesters. Source: CVPS Continuing a tradition of renewable energy innovation that goes back decades, Central Vermont Public Service has proposed a variety of projects to further clean energy development in Vermont. The CVPS proposals, filed with the Vermont Public Service Board, include seven renewable projects and studies at a total cost of about $350,000. In a letter to the PSB, CVPS noted that the Vermont Department of Public Service, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Renewable Energy Vermont, the Conservation Law Foundation and the Biomass Energy Resource Center support the company’s proposals.“Some of these proposals will expand and improve our existing facilities, which help provide arguably the cleanest power supplies in the nation,” CVPS President Bob Young said. “We are also proposing three studies, one on vastly expanding the CVPS Cow Power™ concept to smaller farms, another on producing energy from algae cultivated on Vermont farms, and a third on expanding existing hydro production.”“These studies and facility improvements will continue our efforts to develop expanded renewable energy options for Vermont,” said David O’Brien, commissioner of the Department of Public Service. “CVPS Cow Power™ was once just an idea, but has become an innovative solution to energy and environmental issues, and the study proposals, in particular, offer similar hope for new breakthroughs.”An Essex Partnership study would evaluate a new Cow Power model of collecting and combining manure from a group of smaller farms.“Our hope is to be able to provide the economic and environmental benefits of CVPS Cow Power™ to smaller farms where stand-alone operations wouldn’t be economic,” spokesman Steve Costello said. “Cow Power is a great success, but it is currently economic only on larger farms.”Algepower Inc. has developed Algeponics™, a patented photobioreactor, an enclosed farm system for growing algae, which could be used as a fuel or food source. The first prototype has been linked to a Cow Power digester on the Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport.“CVPS is interested in this technology for its potential as a renewable biodiesel fuel source at distributed generation sites across Vermont,” spokesman Steve Costello said. “Our $50,000 grant would help fund development and operation of the pilot prototype.”The third study, at a cost of $25,000, would examine the potential to increase generation at CVPS’s Carver Falls hydroelectric station in Poultney.In addition to the grants, CVPS is seeking PSB approval to allocate funds to several existing projects. They include:Arnold Falls Hydroelectric Facility Crest Control Installation in St. Johnsbury ($140,000)Southern Loop Combined Heat and Power Development Fund contribution ($50,000)Solar plug-in hybrid vehicle charging station in Rutland Town ($40,000)Wind metering tower for renewable education site in Rutland Town ($16,000). “With an extremely low reliance on fossil fuels, and increased public interest, we are constantly looking for ways to expand our renewable portfolio, already one of the nation’s best,” Costello said.