Wisconsin program offers funding for small-scale farm AD systems

By Erin Voegele | July 31, 2015

Wisconsin-based Focus on Energy, a statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy, recently announced it is soliciting proposals for a program focused on small, farm-scale anaerobic digestion (AD) systems.

According to Focus on Energy, Wisconsin leads the nation with regard to installations of AD systems on large farms known as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which typically have at least 1,000 cattle or tens of thousands of smaller animals, such as chickens. However, most cows in the state are located on the state’s 12,000 small- or medium-sized dairy farms rather than the large CAFOs. Information released by the organization indicates the average Wisconsin dairy farm has only about 100 cattle. AD systems at dairy operations of that size are still relatively uncommon. To help increase the implementation of AD systems at smaller dairy operations, Focus on Energy is offering financial assistance to these smaller-scale farms.

A request for proposals (RFP) published by Focus on Energy explains the incentive levels awarded to selected projects will be determined based on the estimated first year net energy production (or offset) of the system. The RFP notes applicants must propose a price per kWh and/or price per therm amount up to 50 cents per kWh and $1.00 per therm. Incentives awarded through the program may not exceed 50 percent of the total project cost. In addition, Focus on Energy notes the maximum combined incentives, including all energy efficiency and renewable energy incentives, that an individual customer may receive is capped at $500,000 per calendar year. Eligible applicants include farms with up to 700 head of cattle or animal unit equivalents and are customers of participating utilities.

Proposals are due Sept. 25. According to the organization, applicants will be notified of award status by Oct. 16. Additional information on the funding opportunity can be found in the RFP on the Focus on Energy website