#565 Cows power BC homes and businesses

Red Belted Galloway

Red Belted Galloway

The quirky name made me laugh. It also made me curious. What I learned impressed me.

Cowpower is a renewable energy company that assists farms to build anaerobic digesters that convert manure and organic waste into energy. The introductory film explains how a digester converts manure and waste into biogas, which in turn fuels a generator. Farmers own the digesters and feed electricity into the grid.

As with any such process, there is waste. The Cowpower waste, called digestate, is useful. The liquid form can be put on fields as organic fertilizer. The solid digestate becomes livestock bedding or soil amendment.

Cowpower is the only operation of its kind in British Columbia, although U.S. farms power 160 biogas energy projects. Renewable Energy World says part of the problem in bringing more farms online is the initial investment required.

That is where Cowpower shines, by using subscribers’ contributions to assist farms with the setup costs. Businesses, residential consumers and events can sign up to be cowpowered. Their relatively modest additional cost for energy is all used to support development of anaerobic digesters in B.C.

The switch to renewable energy is essential. Fossil fuels are finite resources, and the earth-to-fuel process is energy intensive and highly polluting. Cowpower is a step in the right direction, and that gives me hope.

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