Senate Passes Valesky Bill to Expand Net Metering for Anaerobic Digestion

ALBANY, N.Y.—The State Senate today passed legislation sponsored by Senator David J. Valesky (D-Oneida) that will double the allowable amount of electricity produced through anaerobic digestion, including by on-farm methane digesters, to be sold back to the grid.

“This legislation is beneficial for agriculture and the environment, providing our farms with an additional source of income by selling energy back to the grid,” said Senator Valesky. “By bringing anaerobic digestion on par with wind and solar energy for net metering, we also have the opportunity to expand our use of renewable energy, especially in Upstate New York.”

Methane, a key component in natural gas, can be harnessed through the use of anaerobic digesters. The digesters are filled with manure, which gives off methane gas through decomposition. The methane gas is then combusted in an engine or generator set to create electricity. These digesters are mostly located on dairy farms where methane from manure is captured and used to produce electricity on the farm and, in many cases, net metered back to the grid for use by others.

The legislation equalizes anaerobic digestion with wind and solar technologies by expanding to 1,000 kw the amount that can be net metered, making the technology more cost-effective. 

“The expansion of net metering for anaerobic digesters is critical for farms to garner the full economic benefit of the renewable energy their digester systems are capable of producing,” said Dr. Ben Ballard, Director of the Renewable Energy Training Center at Morrisville State College.

“This is a win-win for farmers and the public. The bill allows dairy farmers to net meter more energy back to the grid which helps protect the environment and augment farm income. It also provides a stable source of renewable energy for other New Yorkers to use,” said Dean Norton, President, New York Farm Bureau. “We are greatly appreciative of Senator Valesky for his leadership in moving this bill forward in the Senate.”