Bill to Promote Methane from Dairy Cows Considered by Connecticut Senate

By Cheryl Kaftan, Energy Manager Today.

Manure happens, and a bill (SB-999) just approved by the Environment Committee of  the Connecticut Senate could help turn “cow patties”  into a source of renewable energy on dairy farms in the Constitution State, according to an April 7 report by the Public News Service.

There are 111 registered dairy farms in the state. The so-called “Cow Power” bill, sponsored by state Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-District 12), would create pilot projects on three of those farms, using anaerobic digesters, a type of composter, to collect methane from decomposing cow manure and convert it into bio-gas.

“The goal is to deal with the problem of animal waste running into our rivers and streams, and ultimately, Long Island Sound,” Kennedy added in an interview with the Public News Service. “And secondly, it provides an important new source of revenue for farmers.”

The bill also would create an easier, cheaper, and faster state and local permitting process for farmers who are interested in adopting this technology, based on an April 4 report by Branford Seven.

“‘Cow Power’ is a term for the conversion of cow manure into electricity, enabling farmers to make money by adding a new, desperately-needed source of farm revenue,” said Kennedy told the Branford, Connecticut, news outlet. “Instead of storing tons of manure in open cesspools that contaminate the water supply and release tons of climate-destroying methane into the atmosphere, farmers can place the animal waste in an anaerobic digester located on their property.”

Farmers could sell the gas or electricity produced by burning the gas to utility companies. What’s more, Kennedy points out that processing cow manure on the farm would have an additional environmental benefit.