Idaho Getting Creative With Energy Solutions, Tapping into “Back End” Infrastructure

Today’s riddle: When can a good idea also stink? Ag Weekly has the answer:

That odor wafting from 550,000 cows that make up Idaho’s growing dairy herd smells like energy independence and economic development to state energy czar Paul Kjellander.

Idaho is now America’s No. 3 milk producer, trailing California and Wisconsin. That also means it’s cow pie central.

Mountains of manure are fueling Kjellander’s dream of pipelines crisscrossing the Snake River plain, linking manure digesters at dairies large and small to central refineries that produce natural gas pure enough for homes or cars. Processed manure would be sold as plant bedding. Dairies could also fire turbines, shooting electricity into the power grid. And they could sell carbon credits in schemes to slash greenhouse gas emissions.

Kjellander, who heads up Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Office of Energy Resources, is pushing a package of income tax credits, property tax waivers and other incentives in the 2009 Legislature starting Jan. 12 to transform Idaho’s southern heartland into a methane Mecca.

I was amused that the author used the phrase "cow pie central" when referring to Idaho. I believe that is also the name of the least popular train station of all time.