Renewable Energy Tour Coming to Milbank June 27

June 17, 2011

South Dakota Farmers Union (SDFU), in cooperation with National Farmers Union (NFU) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation, will host a Renewable Energy Tour Monday, June 27, 2011, at the Midwest Dairy Institute's anaerobic methane digester in Milbank, S.D. The tour will begin at 1:00 p.m. and is free thanks to financial support from The Energy Foundation.

The public is encouraged to attend to get an up-close look at the methane digester and learn about the latest renewable energy research efforts. The tour of the methane digester will be given by Midwest Dairy Institute General Manager Howard Manlove. The 1.7 million gallon digester at the Midwest Dairy Institute has been operational since 2006 and harvests biogas which fires a large boiler at the dairy facility. The energy is used to heat the digester, hot water supply, and the dairy milking facilities.

"Someday, in the not so distant future, we will run out of oil," said SDFU President Doug Sombke. "We need to find ways to capture the renewable energy potential that's been wasted for years. The Midwest Dairy Institute is a shining example of how renewable energy can benefit rural businesses and our country as a whole."

A public panel discussion will be held at 1:30 p.m. at the Midwest Dairy Institute which will include time for a question and answer period. The panel will include experts likee Neil Veilleux, South Dakota Farmers Union President Doug Sombke, Midwest Dairy Institute General Manager Howard Manlove, and Mat McClarty with the Environmental Law & Policy Center. Panelists will discuss renewable energy options available to farmers and ranchers and talk about the latest in renewable energy research. McClarty will also explain the benefits available to farmers, ranchers and rural business owners in South Dakota through the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture which gives grants and loans for energy audits and renewable energy development projects.

Anaerobic digesterion technologies provide air and water quality benefits including pathogen destruction, odor control, organic stability, greenhouse gas (methane) and hydrogen sulfide emissions reductions, and some nutrient management benefits. They also offset the environmental impacts  of fossil fuel generation and provide rural electrical benefits, such as green power, distributed generation and voltage support. According to the American Biogas Council, there are over 160 anaerobic digesters on farms and about 1,500 more operating at wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. today.

"We are harnessing renewable energy for the good of our future generations," Sombke said. "I hope everyone can take a look at this methane digester and learn about ways they can take advantage of the many renewable energy options that are available today."

The National Farmers Union and the Heinrich Böll Foundation are hosting renewable energy tours in several states across the country over the summer.

Last Modified: 06/25/2014 12:22:02 pm MDT