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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WPS offers rate to buy agricultural biogas in pilot

From a news release issued by WPS:

Green Bay, WI – Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) recently received approval from the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin to begin a pilot program to purchase electricity generated from agricultural biogas. In the pilot program, WPS will accept up to 10,000 kilowatts generated from new anaerobic digester operations (no more than 2,000 kilowatts from a single generator) within its service territory. The rate will encourage the development of this renewable resource which will allow WPS to better understand the costs and benefits associated with this type of power purchase, and at the same time provide environmental benefits.

Farmers interested in the program must sign a contract with WPS prior to January 1, 2013.

"Increasing the number of renewable resources is unquestionably good for the environment," said Dennis Derricks, WPS Director of Electric Regulatory Policy. "This tariff is another way to partner with our agricultural customers to find solutions the benefit both parties." Digesters help the farmers with solutions to dealing with vast amounts of waste, while the utility receives another source of renewable energy.

Derricks said WPS has several current digester operations within its territory and this new rate offers "another pricing option specifically for these types of operations." Derricks said the existing contracts were fitted under tariffs not specifically designed for this application.

Farm digester operations sell power to the utility and then buy back what they need at regular rates for farm use.

The new rate is called PG-BioGas, is offered until December 31, 2012 (or until fully subscribed: 10 MW) and is in effect now. The maximum project cap is 2 MW, with an on-peak rate of approx. $0.106/kWh, an off-peak rate of approx. $0.061/kWh, which yields an effective (24 hour) rate of $0.0807/kWh. All environmental attributes from generation purchased under this rate will be claimed by WPS.

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