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CA Dreams 'Green' with PG&E's Help; Gov.'s Inaugural Energized

In California, state officials are dreaming green this year, and the state's major utility, San Francisco-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co., has teamed up with some major farm and biofuel folks to make Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's inauguration Friday a clean energy gala. Take a little animal manure and mix in some soybean oil and sunshine and you have the perfect carbon-neutral green cocktail for the state's political elite.

Actually, PG&E announced what the governor has dubbed the "Leading the Green Dream" inaugural celebration as a venue that will burn nothing more polluting than manure digester biogas from Joseph Gallo Farms and Microgy Inc., along with biodiesel made from soybean oil. Solar energy and carbon credits will be applied to further clean up the mix.

"The use of biogas, biodiesel and solar energy [Friday at the Sacramento swearing-in ceremonies] is more than symbolic; it's a real-life demonstration of available renewable energy sources that can aid in addressing climate change challenges," said Tom King, CEO of the PG&E utility, who lauded Schwarzenegger's leadership in environmental and clean technology advancements.

Biogas is firing a 60 kW generator to help provide electricity used at the celebration, making use of Joseph Gallo Farms' manure and Microgy's technology. Both are California-based companies. "California's dairy industry represents a valuable renewable energy source that offers our state a wide variety of economic and environmental benefits," said Jeff Dasovich, Microgy's senior vice president.

PG&E is also using a 60 kW biodiesel-fueled generator for other power used in the inaugural, and a 3 kW solar system by Akeena Solar will provide some power to facilities used in the day-long and evening events, including the swearing-in ceremony, a "dream team" lunch, and an evening "California Dream Gala" dinner at the Sacramento Convention Center.

Longer term, PG&E said it is partnering with Gallo Farms, Microgy, and other digester companies on a program that will result in larger gas supplies produced from dairy manure to be processed and delivered into the utility's backbone natural gas transmission pipeline system serving the northern half of the state.

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