Maine funds available for anaerobic digestion

Monday, April 29, 2013

The state of Maine has announced funds available to help farmers reduce their agricultural impacts to water quality. State agencies have made up to $3 million available to enable low-interest loans to support eligible projects. These projects may include developing anaerobic digesters, as well as improved roof runoff structures, water and sediment control basins, composting facilities, and irrigation system water conservation.

Anaerobic digesters enable the conversion of organic materials such as manure and other agricultural wastes into biogas. Biogas, largely composed of methane, can be used as a fuel source comparable to natural gas. For example, it can be used to power an electric generator and thus to produce renewable electricity – all while making efficient use of manure and agricultural wastes that could otherwise harm water quality.

Two anaerobic digesters at Stonyvale Farm in Exeter, Maine.

Under the program, farmers will be able to borrow up to $450,000 at a fixed interest rate of 2 percent for up to 20 years to develop qualifying projects. The opportunity represents a partnership between the Maine Departments of Environmental Protection and Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, the Finance Authority of Maine and the Maine Municipal Bond Bank. The initial seed money comes from the DEP-administered Clean Water State Revolving Fund. Since 1989, that fund has provided over $650 million in low-interest loans for water quality projects, primarily hosted by publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities.  For the newly-announced program, the fund will transfer up to $3 million to FAME, which will finance the loans.

For more information on the opportunity, contact either participating department, or consult a professional experienced with anaerobic digestion and state-funded incentive programs. The Preti Flaherty team advises clients on both the development of anaerobic digestion facilities and participation in government-backed loan programs. For more information, please contact Todd Griset at 207-623-5300.

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