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Texas Power/Water Authority Taps 'Renewable' Gas Supply

December 7, 2006
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Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), the central Texas power, water and environmental agency, on Monday announced an 18-month deal with the biogas firm Microgy, Inc.to buy "renewable" natural gas (RNG) generated from a still-to-be-completed Stephenville, TX facility. The river authority also agreed to work with Microgy on lining up carbon offset credits and renewable energy credits (RECs) produced by its Huckabay Ridge facility.

When the RNG production facility is completed, it will generate up to 2 MMcf/d of RNG, drawing on cow manure and other agricultural wastes for use in any of LCRA's three natural gas-fired electric generation plants, along with generating about 200,000 metric tons of carbon offset credits annually.

"With an expected commercial production of 650,000 MMBtu annually, the facility will generate the equivalent of 12,700 gallons of heating oil daily from the manure of approximately 10,000 cows at the eight digester sites," said a spokesperson for LCRA, which plays a variety of roles in central Texas: delivering electricity, managing the water supply and environment of the lower Colorado River basin, developing water and wastewater utilities, providing public recreation areas, and supporting community and economic development.

"The biogas produced at the facility will be treated to commercial natural gas standards, compressed and transported via pipeline to LCRA power plants," the spokesperson said. The facility, currently under construction, is expected to be generating gas at full capacity by the end of the first quarter next year.

As its private-sector counterparts are doing throughout the West, LCRA is stressing its "commitment to providing clean, renewable energy," according to Dan Kuehn, LCRA executive manager for wholesale power services. "In addition to developing new sources of sustainable energy, this arrangement will help to protect the natural resources we value so highly."

Microgy is the principal operating subsidiary of Environmental Power Corp., which develops, owns and operates renewable energy production facilities. Microgy holds what it calls "an exclusive license in North America" for the development and deployment of a proprietary anaerobic digestion technology for extraction of methane gas from animal wastes for use in producing electricity.

LCRA said its mission is "to provide reliable, low-cost utility and public services in partnership with our customers and communities and to use our leadership and environmental authority to ensure the protection and constructive use of the area's natural resources." It is a Texas conservation and reclamation district operating with no taxing authority.

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