Congratulations to local renewable energy startup Farm Power Northwest LLC! The Skagit County company, founded by brothers Kevin and Daryl Maas, were recently awarded a $500,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program to fund construction and operation of a new methane digester in Rexville.
According to an article in the Skagit Valley Herald, the digester will process manure from dairy farms in Skagit County to capture methane gas, which it will burn for energy. The dried material remaining after the manure is processed will be returned to the farms, where it can be used in place of sawdust to line animal holding pens.
Construction on the digester is expected to begin this fall. Farm Power predicts that the digester will produce enough electricity to power 500 homes. In addition to the grant, the USDA will provide Farm Power with a $575,000 loan guarantee toward starting their business operations.
As we try harder and harder to increase clean and renewable options of energy, community-minded solutions like this one are valuable additions to the fight. The Maas brothers' digester will turn a community waste problem into a profitable community resource, exemplifying the kind of smart, cyclical, big-picture thinking that we need to see all across the state, the country and the world.
Photo credit: Skagit Valley Herald.