VEC farm customer joins CVPS Cow Power(tm)NEWPORT, VT – A fifth Vermont farm has joined the CVPS Cow Power(tm) herd through cooperation with Vermont Electric Cooperative.The cows at Neighborhood Farms in Newport are now making two products for their owners, fresh, delicious milk and clean, renewable electricity – joining cows in Addison, Berkshire, Sheldon, St. Albans in one of the fastest-growing renewable energy programs in the country.”We’re excited to be online and generating a new income stream,” said Matthew Maxwell, part of the third generation of the Maxwell family at Neighborhood Farms. “If not for CVPS Cow Power(tm) we wouldn’t be doing this. The program provides solid financial benefits while helping us make tremendous improvements to our manure management. CVPS Cow Power(tm) and the customers who enroll help make projects such as ours a reality.”The farm was started in 1957 by Maurice and Lois Maxwell, who now share ownership with their four sons: Stewart, Bradley, Anthony, and Jeffery. Grandson Matthew also works on the farm in a management position.There are 850 milking cows with an average of 750 milking at all times. The farm, the smallest CVPS Cow Power(tm) producer, has won several farm management awards, including being named 2003 Vermont Dairy Farm of the Year by the University of Vermont.Neighborhood Energy LLC is a newly created partnership between Bradley, Stewart, Jeffery, Anthony and Matthew Maxwell that will produce energy with an anaerobic digester and generator installed at the farm site. Construction of the digester began in March.The farm is in the Vermont Electric Cooperative’s service territory, which worked with CVPS and the Maxwells to make the project a reality. VEC will purchase the farm’s electrical output and CVPS will purchase the renewable energy credits and related environmental attributes associated with the farm-based generation. CVPS Cow Power(tm) agreed to purchase the credits and all associated renewable attributes for 4 cents per kilowatt-hour.”VEC is pleased to be able to extend the benefits of Cow Power to the Maxwells,” VEC Chief Executive Officer David Hallquist said. “All of VEC’s members and the environment benefit from this joint arrangement, built through cooperation between VEC, CVPS and the Maxwells.”The project is expected to produce about 1,750,000 kilowatt-hours annually, which CVPS President Bob Young called an important addition to the program. “We are committed to renewable energy development, and these projects are an important part of our efforts to develop renewables right here in Vermont,” Young said. “Each successive farm that joins Cow Power gives more credence to our belief that Vermont dairy farms can play a significant role in meeting Vermont’s energy needs in the future. We hope to supply 4 to 5 percent of our load with Cow Power within 10 years.”The Cow Power process is simple: manure and other agricultural waste are held in a sealed concrete tank at the same temperature as a cow’s stomach, 101 degrees. Bacteria digest the volatile components, creating methane and killing pathogens and weed seeds. The methane, which is roughly 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide in trapping heat in the atmosphere, fuels an engine/generator.CVPS customers can choose to receive all, half or a quarter of their electrical energy through Cow Power, and pay a premium of 4 cents per kilowatt hour. It goes to participating farm-producers, to purchase renewable energy credits when enough farm energy isn’t available, or to the CVPS Renewable Development Fund. The fund also provides grants to farm owners to develop on-farm generation. CVPS provide Neighborhood Energy a grant of $100,000 to help underwrite start-up costs through its Renewable Development Fund.”These projects may need a little help getting started, but they have performed remarkably at every farm in the program,” Young said. “They are among the most reliable generators in our system.”CVPS Cow Power(tm) has been repeatedly honored since its creation in 2004. The program won the Vermont Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in 2005-2006 and the Finalist’s Commendation in the 2007 Edison Electric Institute’s annual Edison Award competition, named for Thomas Edison. In January, “Power Magazine” named CVPS Cow Power(tm) one of five “Top Plants” worldwide. For more information, visit www.cvps.com/cowpower(link is external).
Bookman’s quest for civics education leads him overseas Bookman’s quest for civics education leads him overseas Theresa E. Davis Assistant Editor What do Bar President Alan Bookman and Zsa Zsa Gabor have in common? Both have seen and experienced the “Pearl of the Danube.”Gabor was born in The Pearl of the Danube — or Budapest, Hungary. Bookman’s passion for civics education led him to Budapest in May with the Civitas International Civic Education Exchange Program and saw the spinning wheels and grinding cogs of democracy with his own eyes.Annette Boyd Pitts, executive director of the Florida Law-Related Education Association, described Civitas as “the international civic education program pairing NGO’s, universities, and other organizations in the United States and emerging democracies.” FLREA partners with Civitas because of its reputation and recognition in the fields of civic and law-related education at home and abroad, Pitts said.Bookman and his wife, Connie, were part of a U.S. delegation with members from Texas and Mississippi who traveled to Budapest in May. The only member from Florida, Bookman says he was chosen by virtue of his position as Bar president.“Alan Bookman was selected this year for his involvement in assisting with the FLREA campaign for civics education and advancing civic education in Florida,” Pitts said. That effort resulted in a new mandate passed by the Florida Legislature this year to require three middle school or higher courses in social studies, one semester of which must include the study of state and federal government and civics education.Bookman and the rest of the delegation observed democracy showcases, discussed the Hungarian educational system with school administrators, and participated in classroom activities with the students. They also visited the U.S. Embassy and received private tours of both Budapest and Hungarian parliament.Bookman interacted with Hungarian dignitaries, such as the undersecretary for human rights and equal opportunities and the minister of justice, to discuss the country’s democratic future.“Democracy is only 15 years young in Hungary,” Bookman said. “Many of the leaders are holdovers from the former government. Notwithstanding this, these leaders are working diligently, attempting to ensure that Hungary becomes a member of the world community.”Pitts explained the importance of meeting with members of parliament.“We want to see how these officials are involved in civics education, what policies exist for civics education, and what priorities have been established,” she said.Hungary is not the only country with a delegation. FLREA is also partnered with Romania as well as two Latin American countries, Panama and Peru.“We are like brothers and sisters committed to the preservation of democracy and helping our young people understand and improve the institutions and processes in our respective democracies,” said Pitts. “The ultimate beneficiaries are our students.”Bookman stood in awe of the Hungarian students, commenting on their “zest and enthusiasm.”“What impressed me most was the students’ thirst for freedom, the rights of assembly, worship, and speech,” Bookman said.Is that so different from here? Well, in a word, yes. “Our students — fortunate to have been born into our democratic system — unfortunately, take what they were given for granted,” Bookman said.While Pitts says that the evaluations concerning the Budapest delegation are “exceptional,” she continues to advance FLREA’s agenda. Pitts said that she has been asked to travel to Nigeria to assist in developing Bar support for law-related education there.“It is important to have the Bar involved in these efforts, and our colleagues around the world are recognizing that the growth of civics education in Florida is, in large measure, attributed to the involvement of the court and the Bar,” said Pitts. “We need more judges and lawyers to assist us in these valuable initiatives.” July 1, 2006 Regular News