With the deadline for potential bidders to submit proposals a month away, state agencies have scheduled a webinar for 1 p.m. June 5 to to provide an opportunity for potential applicants to ask clarifying questions about integrated anaerobic digester systems.

Gov. Scott Walker has directed the Public Service Commission, Department of Natural Resources, and Department of Agricultural Trade and Consumer Protection to work together on an effort to align anaerobic digester/water treatment system technology with all sizes of dairy farms in environmentally sensitive areas of the state with the goal of improving water quality, nutrient management, and renewable energy.

The three agencies last week released a new version of the request for proposals with a second set of errata clarifying and updating the RFP.

The original RFP had a submission deadline of May 1, which was later extended to July 3.

biogas plant

Aerial view to biogas plant from pig farm in the Czech Republic and European Union. Photo © Vladvitek at Dreamstime.com

The PSC has authorized Focus on Energy to spend “up to $20 million for Integrated Anaerobic Digester projects that meet Focus on Energy eligibility requirements,” the RFP indicates. It’s expected that the full cost of the project could be as much as 10 times that amount.

Supervisor Lee Luft, who has kept an eye on the project, sent an email to colleagues and interested observers in which he concludes that the latest changes to the request for proposal are mostly positive.

“There is now some mention of the odor control concerns (though no set limits) and some mention of warranties (though the warranties seem only to cover the production of the methane gas and not the concerns about water quality, odor, etc.),” Luft said. “There is also some mention of how the winning bidder will deal with partners who don’t fulfill their commitments to the project but no mention of a fund for the removal of the facility in the event that becomes necessary as it has in other communities with manure-fed bio-gas plants. This version of the RFP is clearly better but serious questions remain.”

Luft asked Land and Water Conservation Committee Chairman John Pagel to add discussion of the RFP to the agenda of the committee’s next meeting, which is scheduled for 9 a.m. June 13 at the Land and Water Conservation Department, 625 Third Ave., Luxemburg.