Co-op Power Franklin County, Co-op Power Southern VT. and Co-op Power Hampshire County
What is Biodiesel?
Northeast Biodiesel is a 3.5 million gallons/year recycled cooking oil biodiesel production facility which in it's first year will start production at 1.75 million gallons/year. Northeast Biodiesel will be owned by the 465+ members of Co-op Power and the employees of Northeast Biodiesel. Community ownership of Northeast Biodiesel insures that the jobs and the fuel will stay local and benefit our communities. We are using recycled Cooking oil (RCO) because, according to the EPA, RCO is one of the best options for reducing carbon and sulfur emissions in fuel. Our fuel will be used to heat homes and provide transportation all over the Northeast! To learn more visit the website.
Biodiesel will reduce our use of nonrenewable fossil fuels that are causing climate change and polluting our air, water, and food. First, according to the Califonia’s Air Resource Board, biodiesel from recycled cooking oil reduces carbon emissions by 86% (as per Chapter 2.6, page 476 of this EPA report). Second, the plant will be locally owned, which will keep our money in our local community instead of funneling profits out of our region. Third, the plant will increase our energy security, by providing a local supply of transportation and heating fuel. Fourth, the plant will provide 14 quality careers our region.
The plans needed for the last phase of our start-up construction for Northeast Biodiesel is 95% complete. Hundreds of pages now describe all of the pumps and valves and electrical wires and walls and windows that will soon be built into our plant. Requests for proposals have been sent to mechanical and electrical contractors. In this last phase, we will connect the storage tanks and pumps to and from the biodiesel processor. We will also install the systems to provide heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, lighting and electricity to the building. This phase also includes final grading for the property, black top, and landscaping.
It has taken a long time, but sometimes good things take a while. Co-op Power could have built the plant in 2005 with venture capital but they turned it down, and good thing they did because the terms offered wern't aligned with Co-op Power's Commitment to long term stewardship of local renewable resources. Co-op Power President, Lynn Benander says, "We're not doing it fast, but we're doing it right. Hundreds of Co-op Power member families own and control this biodiesel plant and we'll be able to steward this resource in our community for generations."
Since 2005 much has been accomplished. The land was purchased in the Greenfield Industrial Park. The building was built. The tanks and processor were purchased and installed in the building. Northeast Biodiesel is getting to the end of this long road and when they're done, they'll have invested $3.5 million, including $3,000,000 from our cooperative.
In conjunction with the building of the plant, we are working behind the scenes to update the financial projections and complete the start-up projects related to human resources, permitting and licensing.
The wholesale recycled oil and yellow grease companies will supplement our local recycled vegetable oil network while it grows. Northeast Biodiesel has been successful working with Re-Energizer to contract with local restaurants for their cooking oil.
We are also working setting up the systems to allow you to help us grow our network of restaurant contributing their oil to Northeast biodiesel. Please visit our member restaurants to show your support. We are also getting the systems set up have your Local Organizing Council set up in your county. Go to our Member Training page (coming soon), to learn more about how you can help with this project or contact Oilcollection@northeastbiodiesel.com.
You Can Participate!
1) Northeast Biodiesel is majority owned by Co-op Power and its members. You can join Co-op Power - investing your member equity in the plant now - and get discounts on biodiesel soon. If you are a member, e-mail Lynn to request the project prospectus.
2) You can help sign on your favorite restaurants and cafeterias to sell their used cooking oil to ReEnergizer, or one of Co-op Power’s other oil collection partners (who will deliver the oil to Northeast Biodiesel filtered and dewatered).
3) You can join Co-op Power's heating oil buying group and help us build our market power in the heating oil marketplace, making bioheat affordable and available to everyone.
4) Form an on-road biodiesel buying group with 5-8 friends (based on the Sacramento Biodiesel Distribution Network model).
5) You can join the B100 Pioneers who will work together to adjust their heating oil systems and diesel vehicles to take straight biodiesel, learning from communities in Europe and Canada who have figured out how to do that year round.
6) You can encourage your school bus fleet, town vehicles, and local businesses to use biodiesel.
7) You can volunteer at Co-op Power and Northeast Biodiesel to support ongoing business development efforts.