I understand there is a WHOLE lot of pig poop in eastern North Carolina and the people want the pigs to either stop pooping or for the owners of the pooping pigs to do something with the poop other than run it into large pits that they call Hog Lagoons.
North Carolina holds second place among the states in hog production. Ten years ago residents in the area got the state to impose a moratorium on these lagoons that are later tapped by the farmers to spray on the fields as fertilizer. This is not at all the best solution since the seepage from the lagoons and then the fields contaminate the ground water, but it is certainly the cheapest and farmers are reluctant to look for other methods of disposal and/or use of the pig manure. Now the moratorium is coming up for renewal and the residents are asking the state to make it permanent.
Reading the handwriting on the wall, yes even pig farmers can read, the NC Pork Council has asked the legislators to create a pilot program that would test the feasibility of using the wastes by capturing the methane gas emanating from the lagoons and using it to produce electric. This will not eliminate the lagoons and the odor and diseases caused by the filth, but if the experiment is successful then perhaps other methods of storing the wastes will be found.
The technology to capture the methane gas has already been developed and is used by larger companies in Texas with cow manure. These companies are investing a lot of funds and are sure that the use of the free manure can be made economical enough to compete with fossil fuels.(I have blogged on these companies previously)
Progress Energy of Raleigh has agreed to participate in the program if the legislator approve it. They have agreed to initially purchase the electricity generated at about 18 cent a kilowatt which is considerably more than the 4.5 to 5.5 cents per kilowatt they are paying others not in the pig poop to methane gas to electricity business.
Greensboro's own Representative Pricey Harrison is right on top of the finally recognized problem that “greenhouse gases” created by the use of fossil fuels are simply killing our planet. If something isn’t done soon to reduce the world’s emission of these pollutants into the atmosphere the world in 100 years will be a vastly different and less friendly place.
Rep. Harrison, Democrat, is one of the major authors of the bill to created what is commonly know in the industry as Renewable Portfolio Standard. There will probably be a great deal of debate about just how and what and at what cost but most people have agreed that something has to be done. The power companies and all others involved in the industry are therefore cooperating. The bill basically will require power companies to get 20% of their electricity which they in turn sell to customers from renewable sources. Renewable sources include solar, wind, hydroelectric, crops and yes, pig poop.
Power companies are sure to lose money if this bill is passed but then a whole new industry will take the place of the fossil fueled plants.
We in Greensboro are fortunate to have a company that sells solar systems for homes. Solectric Solutions owner Gary Miolen started his business about a year ago and it has been slow going, I think however as people become aware of the problem with our planet they will be willing to pay more to do their part. Remember when Chicken of the Sea came out with dolphin safe tuna and had to charge a bit more for it. Critics said people wouldn’t buy it. How wrong they were! Tuna made from fish captured in nets that dolphins could escape from out sold the other brands. This will be the case with solar which is so easily installed on your homes roof.
My husband and I installed solar for our hot water heater in 1979 for $2000 as a test market adventure.(solar electric was not available then) It was both solar and regular electric but after two weeks my husband cut the electric power source off. We more than got our money back in the 17 years we used the system. There were four of us in Florida where clothing is sometimes changed two or three times a day causing me to have to launder every day. Then the showers and other uses of hot water. We NEVER ran out. And the system is still producing, but now for a family of five.
For more on renewable sources of energy you might put Diane Davis’ site Greensboropeerpressure on your favorites list as she is the local blogger who brings news from around the world of innovated used of all sorts of things beside fossil fuels.
Edited out part of the post. BB got confused about the plants she was talking about. Duke still plans to go ahead with coal fueled plants. DUMB! of them. Oh well.(Edited out:Duke Power has put on hold their plans to build two new coal powered plants in northwestern NC. A good move and a good possibility that when the plants are finally built they will be using a far more earth friendly fuel.)