This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

January 27, 2010

DOE to Award $20.5 million to Five Community Renewable Energy Projects

DOE announced on January 21 its selection of five community-based renewable energy projects to receive more than $20.5 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds. The selected projects involve biomass, solar, and wind energy installations in the states of California, Colorado, Vermont, and Wisconsin, combining the Recovery Act funds with $167 million in local government and private industry funding. From a district energy system fueled with sustainably-harvested wood chips in Vermont to California's first "solar highway" of roadside solar power systems, these projects will serve as models for other local governments, campuses, or small utilities.

One recipient is California's Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD), which will build 1,500 kilowatts (kW) of concentrating and flat-plate photovoltaic solar power systems along a 2-mile stretch of highway. SMUD will also install a digester to convert sewage and a variety of food wastes into biogas, producing up to 3 megawatts (MW) of power, along with a 600-kW molten carbonate fuel cell and two anaerobic digesters to convert dairy waste into 500 kW of combined heat and power (CHP). A second, nearby recipient is the University of California at Davis, which will use a digester to produce biogas from organic wastes. The biogas will power a 300-kW fuel cell, which will work in combination with an advanced battery system to provide power to the campus' West Village, a new mixed-use community that is aiming for net-zero energy use.

Additional recipients include Phillips County in northeast Colorado, where local landowners and project participants will share the revenues from a community-owned 30-MW wind farm, which might eventually expand into a 650-MW wind farm spread over three counties. In Vermont, the City of Montpelier will install a wood chip-fueled, district energy system that will provide heat to 176 downtown buildings, including the state capitol, the city hall, and a number of schools. The CHP system will also deliver 1.8 million kilowatt-hours of power to the grid each year. And in Wisconsin, the Forest County Potawatomi Tribe will provide heating, cooling, and electricity for the tribe's governmental buildings, using the combination of a 1.25-megawatt, biomass-fueled CHP facility; an anaerobic digester to convert manure to biogas, paired with a 150-kW generator; three 100-kW wind turbines; and three 2.88-kW solar power systems. See the DOE press release.