A Wisconsin Public Radio report says questions remain after three state agencies held a seminar Feb. 1 to provide detailed information about a request for proposals to build and operate digesters that can convert large amounts of manure into energy.

Gov. Scott Walker came to Kewaunee County on short notice in November to announce that the state would provide up to $20 million for projects that could serve multiple farms. The RFP was released a month ago, and interested parties have until May 1 to submit proposals.

The five-hour seminar was held at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus.

Last week, the agencies held a well-attended seminar in Oshkosh. Matt Cole was there. His company, Energy Systems Group, runs three smaller digesters in Kewaunee County. But Cole said the economics of a large project may not work for him, even with state help.

“It’s a money thing,” he said. “Even if you get a bunch of free money, you’re still not going to be able to do it, because these projects are extraordinarily expensive to begin with.”

Kewaunee County Board Chairman Robert Weidner and other leaders have said although $20 million sounds like a great deal of money, the total cost of such a facility is probably well over $100 million.

via $20M For Manure Digester Draws Interest, Questions | Wisconsin Public Radio