AgBioworks initiative receives $309,000 grant

The West Kentucky AgBioworks Initiative at Murray State is one of 13 Kentucky organizations to receive a grant under the 2011 settlement agreement between the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

The settlement is a result from alleged violations of the Clean Air Act that requires TVA to invest in new and upgraded state-of-the-art pollution controls that will reduce pollution, save energy and protect public health and the environment.

Gov. Steve Beshear said the recipients include education, housing, agricultural and economic development organizations and projects. Kentucky will receive $11.2 million over five years to implement the projects.

“These projects represent many innovative initiatives in schools, universities, private industry, agriculture, nonprofits and government and will help us to further the state’s energy and environmental goals and provide long-term benefits to the citizens of the commonwealth,” Beshear said. “Many of the projects build upon existing programs that have already demonstrated the value of investments in energy efficiency technologies and practices.”

Murray State is awarded $309,000 to install, test and demonstrate a biomass heating system at the equine center. The bio burner units will offset fossil-fuel energy with renewable energy at a rate of 40mWh per year of electricity.

One of the units will be portable in order to demonstrate a biomass-to-energy model to area farmers, industry and others.

Loretta Daniel, Director of the Regional Business and Innovation Center, said the Energy and Environment Cabinet invited organizations across the Commonwealth of Kentucky to apply for a grant under the Tennessee Valley Authority Environmental Mitigation Projects program.

“This program stemmed from a settlement consent decree between the Environmental Protection Agency and TVA that funded the program $11.5 million over a five-year period,” Daniel said. “The EEC accepted applications for a variety of projects and programs that advance energy conservation, efficiency and renewable generation in the Commonwealth. We applied for one of these grants last fall to expand the West Kentucky AgBioworks Demonstration Center at the Equine Center at Murray State.”

She said the grant will provide funding for equipment and construction to install a biomass heating system and training center.

Staff Report.