Colorado biomass projects receive NEED grants

By Anna Austin
Web exclusive posted Jan. 27, 2009, at 2:45 p.m. CST

Eight Colorado organizations received New Energy Economic Development grants, which were provided by Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter's Energy Office through the state Clean Energy Funds.

A total of $370,000 was awarded to biomass, energy efficiency, wind, solar and other projects. Criteria for the grants included projects which will serve to create jobs and strengthen local economies.

Out of 57 applicants, three projects involving the use of biomass technologies were chosen.

The city of Greeley, Colo., received $82,489 to conduct a feasibility analysis of the development of a "Greeley Clean Energy Park."

"We received the grant funding for a phase one engineering and business feasibility study designed to analyze the viability of using our abundant agricultural and food processing waste streams to create a renewable energy source-biogas-for use by the major food processing plants located in our industrial area know as the Western Sugar TIF District," said Bruce Biggi, Greeley's economic development manager.

Biggi said the Western Sugar TIF District is home to a forthcoming Leprino Foods cheese plant and several agriculture-related businesses. "If proven commercially viable, this area will become our Clean Energy Industrial Park," he said. "We would utilize our tax increment financing capability as an economic development tool for fostering new business creation associated with agribusiness and renewable energy, creating a unique business cluster located in Greeley, Colorado."

The energy produced at the park would be used to serve the needs of business and industry within the Greeley Clean Energy Park., and additional energy produced may be delivered to meet the renewable energy needs of the state and the city of Greeley.

The Colorado Brownfields Foundation in Jefferson County received $25,000 to create a model for the feasibility of using multiple renewable energy technologies including biomass, methane, wind and solar at a former landfill site at Colorado Springs.

"CFB is working to evaluate a landfill site for its renewable energy potential and to ensure environmental issues are being managed," said Raena Blumental, program manager for CFB. "The ultimate goal is creating a renewable energy site on the landfill and creating an economic catalyst for the surrounding area. CBF sees this as a replicable business model to bring renewable energy to landfill sites and create a best practices guide targeted to communities facing similar opportunities."

The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association and The Global Biomass Network Project Inc., located in Salida, Colo., received $100,000 in matching funds to support the development of a waste wood diversion and gasification project at the Chaffee County landfill.

In 2008, Colorado's GEO awarded over $1,000,000 to energy efficient and renewable energy projects within the state.

For more information about NEED grants, visit the Colorado Governor's Energy Web site.