PurposeEnergy, Inc. is working its way through one example of what some industry experts call the political and regulatory barriers to renewable energy technology. Its agreement with the Middlebury selectboard will lower its fees to connect to the town’s wastewater system but it still has a ways to go before the deal is finalized.
PurposeEnergy Inc. of Woburn, Mass., plans to use an anaerobic digester to extract energy from organic wastewater. Green Mountain Power would then distribute the electricity through the power grid. The technology is similar to GMP’s Cow Power program, but the PurposeEnergy plant would process waste byproducts from beverage and dairy companies, not manure. ... PurposeEnergy is still working through the permitting process. Its most significant hurdle will be obtaining a Certificate of Public Good from the Public Utilities Commission. PurposeEnergy CEO Eric Fitch said during late-August talks with the selectboard that a connection fee agreement would be an important component of the company’s application for that certificate. Ramsay said the Middlebury Planning Commission has a concern about the proposed siting of the plant, specifically that it is set closer to Industrial Avenue than permitted in zoning for the area. Ramsay told the selectboard that issue will be addressed in hearings before the Public Utilitis Commission.