Increasing Energy Costs Expected to Boost Interest in Anaerobic Digestion to Produce Energy

by 5m Editor
14 August 2007, at 7:21am

CANADA - A Manitoba swine producer says the province's low electricity rates are one of the factors discouraging the development of anaerobic digestion as a means of using livestock manure to produce energy on the farm, writes Bruce Cochrane.

Grunthal area based Topeaka Farms is developing a system which will use anaerobic digestion to produce biogas from swine manure for use as a source of energy on the farm.

Owner-operator Lauren Wiebe notes, while the use of biogas and other green energies have been highly subsidized in Europe, that hasn't been the case in Manitoba which currently enjoys the lowest electricity rates in Canada.

Lauren Wiebe-Topeaka Farms

We, as consumers, we have been subsidized because we are so blessed with this green energy called hydro done through water and subsequently we pay a lower rate than anybody else in Canada.

Subsequently that hinders the growth of the biogas industry here in Manitoba.

You look at Alberta, there's been a number of programs put forward there where they've actually built some.

You look at Ontario, there's some there.

You look in Saskatchewan, there's some over there as well.

We're just a little bit slower on that end of it because we do have such affordable electricity here in Manitoba.

We all look at our electrical costs that we pay on a monthly basis and we know that they're not going to stay at this level forever.

We know that there's going to be increasing costs and, I guess, looking forward a person thinks of that.

To start to generate your own electricity with a by-product that you're already producing on farm, it makes economical sense to do that and at the same time it reduces odor and does a lot of other environmental benefits just for the rural community.

Wiebe anticipates higher energy costs right across the board.

He is convinced the interest in anaerobic digestion as a source of energy will increase as those costs rise.

5m Editor