Interest in California Dairy Manure Methane Digesters Follows the Money

August 2020

Key Points

  • California has legislated a 40% reduction in manure methane emissions by 2030 from its largest source: 1.7 million dairy cows.
  • One of the means of achieving that goal has been on-farm dairy manure methane digesters. Digesters not only help reduce dairy manure methane emissions, they capture renewable natural gas.
  • The state has used a carrot approach by awarding grants to dairies to capture and recycle manure methane gas for energy, helping offset millions of dollars of costs.
  • The financial incentives and energy market opportunities created by California's Cap-and-Trade and Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) programs are the main sources of revenue for dairy digester projects.
  • The risk of policy change to the Cap-and-Trade program and the LCFS is low in California, but risk may be higher for projects outside of California trying to capitalize on credits.

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