Turning poop into power: Farmer wants government to get off the pot

A west coast dairy farmer is fed up waiting to get his 'cow power' on the province's electrical grid.

Dairy farm power can service 400 homes, but farmer still waiting for contract

A west coast dairy farmer is fed up waiting to get his 'cow power' on the province's electrical grid. After years of process and paper work, it still hasn't happened. 1:24

A west coast dairy farmer is fed up waiting to get his "cow power" on the province's electrical grid.

It's not about money… it's just a matter of making that effort.- Brent  Chaffey

In 2010, New World Dairy President, Brent Chaffey installed an anaerobic digester that turns the waste from his 1,200 cows into electricity.

His farm in St. David's uses only 24 per cent of the poop power, and said the excess is enough to keep the lights on in 400 homes all year long.

A dairy farm in western Newfoundland is harnessing the power of cow manure with an anaerobic digester to create power. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

Waiting game

He wants to sell to government but after years of paperwork he can't get the Department of Natural Resources, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro and Newfoundland Power to sign on the dotted line.

"Here we are years trying to get approval to put our green renewable energy into the grid where the people of the province can avail of the value of it," said Chaffey.

"It's not about money… it's just a matter of making that effort and there just doesn't seem to be any measure of priority in meeting that obligation."

Chaffey has met with several ministers and premiers and all have been extremely excited about the project.

Simple solution

He's confused as to why it's so hard to get past the final hurdle.

"We're at the end of a grid, if we're pushing this power back into the system then it's our understanding that this alleviates an amount of stress further back the line from the primary source utilized to supply energy to homes and businesses along the path."

The Department of Natural Resources said in a statement it is working on a contract for the excess energy but offered no timelines as to when that would happen.


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