GMP Cow Power is supplied by 12 dairy farms across
Vermont, which together generate 16 million kilowatthours per
Green Mountain PowerGreen Mountain Power customers across Vermont
can now support a pure Vermont form of renewable energy produced by
over 10,000 Vermont dairy cows, thanks to a new ruling by the
Vermont Public Service Board approving the expansion of the GMP Cow
Power Program from the limited territory previously served by CVPS
to the entire GMP service territory.
Cow Power was first offered to customers in 2004, as an innovative
way to offer new, local renewable energy choices. The GMP Cow Power
program currently includes 12 farms, and generates 16 million
kilowatthours per year - enough to completely power 2,200 average
"We are so excited to be able to offer GMP Cow Power to 90,000
additional Green Mountain Power customers," said Mary Powell, CEO
of Green Mountain Power. "This program has so many benefits for
farms, for the environment, and for Vermont as a whole. The
expansion of this program is one more way that we can increase
renewable power in Vermont."
To produce Cow Power, farmers feed cow manure into an on-site
anaerobic digester. Naturally occurring microbes in the digester
convert the waste into several useful byproducts, one of which is
methane gas. The methane fuels an engine which drives an electric
generator. Heat generated from this process is repurposed to keep
the digester warm, and can offset fuel purchases on the farm for
hot water and space heating. The energy generated is fed into the
GMP electrical system for distribution to customers.
The coarse plant fibers left over are processed through a
mechanical separator. These odorless solids can be used to replace
sawdust or sand as bedding for the animals. Solids not used for
bedding may be further processed and sold as a garden soil. The
liquid portion is an enhanced fertilizer used to grow crops to feed
Vermont dairy farms currently producing GMP Cow Power include
Blue Spruce Farm, Gervais Family Farm, Green Mountain Dairy, Chaput
Family Farms, Montagne Farm, Dubois Farm, Berkshire Pleasant Valley
Farm, Monument Farms, Maxwell's Neighborhood Farm, Kane's Scenic
River Farm, Maplehurst Farm, and Four Hills Farm.
Matt Maxwell is a farmer at Maxwell's Neighborhood Farm in
Coventry, Vt., which has been producing Cow Power since 2008. "We
joined the program because milk prices were so low, and we were
looking for a separate, steady income stream," he said. "It's been
great for us. There's the income from the sale of electricity.
We're using the dry by-product as bedding for our 750 dairy cows,
and we have excess to sell to other farmers and landscapers. With
excess heat from the engine we've been able to heat a 2,600 square
foot greenhouse where we raise broccoli and greens for the
wholesale market all winter, and tomatoes and peppers in the
summer. We also heat our machine shop with the excess heat, which
means we buy way less heating oil. When people pay a little extra
to buy GMP Cow Power, they are helping the environment, and they
are helping Vermont farmers stay in business."
Green Mountain Power customers who want to buy GMP Cow Power can
enroll by call 1-888-835-4672, or by completing a form on the Green
Mountain Power website. Customers can choose to buy 25%, 50%, or
100% of their energy from Cow Power, and pay an extra four cents
per kilowatt hour premium. If an average Vermont household using
600 kwh a month decided to get 25% of their energy from GMP Cow
Power, they would pay an extra $6 per month.
Current GMP Cow Power customers include 2,800 individual
households that buy all or part of their electricity through the
program. 190 Vermont businesses buy Cow Power, including these
Central Vermont companies: Killington Resort, Long Trail Brewing
Company, Vermont Hard Cider, Drew's All Natural, Middlebury
College, Green Mountain College, Cobb Hill Community, The Equinox
Resort, the Vermont Community Foundation, Cooperative Insurance,
the Green Mountain National Forest, and the Marsh Billings
Rockefeller National Park.
Vermont Hard Cider Company of Middlebury, Vt., maker of
Woodchuck Hard Cider, has purchased over 1 million kWh through the
Cow Power program since 2010. "As a Vermont business it only makes
sense to invest in Vermont," says Bret Williams, President and CEO
of Vermont Hard Cider. "This is something bigger than Woodchuck.
Cow Power is about people: People forging meaningful partnerships
around innovative technologies that better the planet and our local
communities. Paying a small premium to help new energy ideas
flourish in our own backyard is worth it to us."
There is a growing need for Vermonters to support GMP Cow Power,
rather than sell the renewable energy out of state. Presently, the
12 GMP Cow Power farms are producing about 500 MWH more energy than
the 2990 customers are purchasing. GMP Cow Power payments go
entirely to Vermont Cow Power farmers.
For more information visit Green Mountain Power
GMP generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in
the state of Vermont. The company, which serves more than 250,000
customers, has set its vision to be the best small company in