Four Hills Farm plans cowpower

BRISTOL — One of Addison County’s largest farms has secured a $250,000 grant to put toward the construction of an on-farm methane digester to convert manure into electricity.
Bristol’s Four Hills Farm was received the grant from the Clean Energy Development Fund, which last week announced more than $3 million in grants and low-interest loans for 15 Vermont renewable energy projects.  
Brian Hill, who co-owns the farm with Kevin, Ronald and Joanne Hill, said the farmers have been considering installing a methane digester for about eight years.
Aside from the initial investment, Hill said that installing a digester is a “win-win” situation: The farmers will be able to generate its own renewable energy, create bedding for their 1,300 cows, and cut down on the odor of the manure byproduct they’ll spread across their fields as fertilizer. 
The project will cost an estimated $2.8 million. Hill said he hopes the digester will be built in 2011.
The farm is currently talking with local power companies to set up an agreement to sell power onto the electrical grid, because the Hills anticipate generating more power than they’ll need to run their farm.
Reporter Kathryn Flagg is at [email protected].

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