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Inside the Bullis Savage View Farm listening to next steps. From left Dwight Bullis and Agricultural Digesters’ team members Brenden Williams of Biogest Biogas and John Forcier of Forcier Consulting Engineers.

Vermont has extremely stiff permitting regulations so as to preserve the natural beauty and environment of the Green Mountain state. (And we thought applying for grants and incentives was challenging!)

Our mission in recent months has been to gain approval from many entities including the Agency of Natural Resources, the Department of Public Service, the Division of Historic Preservation, the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, the Grand Isle Zoning Commission and Selectboard, VEPP (administers two Renewable Energy Programs), Vermont Electric Coop and Efficiency Vermont, just to name a few.

A section 248 form must also be completed including testimony about site planning and a field survey that includes rare plants, wetlands delineation, mapped streams, prime agricultural soil, greenhouse gas and a sound permit. Not for the faint of heart – or a busy farmer!

Fortunately for us, there appears to be a silver lining. In Vermont, Agricultural DIgesters LLC focuses primarily on individual, “farmer owned” projects rather than large RNG or communal digesters which have a more complex permitting process. These single farm projects are fully or largely manure fed which means little or no off-farm traffic. For example, the Bullis digester will be 100% manure and everything will be contained at the farm site. No outside trucking using fossil fuels. 

In addition to this, our next three farms in development in Sheldon, Franklin and Stowe, Vermont will be “cookie cutter” in that they will use the same proven generator set (MAN), digester technology (Biogest) and solids separator (Doda) as the Bullis farm. This means that permitting entities will be seeing essentially the same digester at our next three farms as well the others we have in our pipeline. This should greatly streamline the process for the team we assemble for each farm digester project.

 

Brenden Williams and John Forcier survey location of digester that will process the manure of 875 milking cows.

Diagram showing location of digester tank, generator set and building housing the solids separator. Nearby farm buildings may utilize heat from the combined heat and power generator, likely with assistance from Efficiency Vermont.

Later that day we were visited by Alex DePillis (left) of the Vermont Department of Agriculture, Food and Markets.

Jim Muir and Brenden Williams, Agricultural Digesters’ office, Williston, Vermont.

Earlier this year Dwight Bullis with supporters Senator Peter Welch, Sarah Waring, Director of USDA Rural Development (far right) and Vermont Electric Coop who will offtake the renewable electricity produced by the farm.

Above ground, stainless steel, complete mix digester similar to the one that will be at Bullis Savage View Farm. Agricultural Digesters flew the farmer to Idaho to visit Biogest’s 100% manure digester for 26,000 cows that produces renewable natural gas.