The Robert Giacomini Dairy in Point Reyes Station held a tour this week to showcase its manure digestion and power generation system. The project has been producing renewable energy continuously since June 2009. This innovative project was designed by Williams Engineering Associates, and was funded in part by grants from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, the California Energy Commission, administered by Western United Resource Development, Inc. (WURD), and PG&E’s Self Generation Incentive Program. Electricity generated by the digester system is used to power dairy operations as well as on site cheese making operations at the family’s Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese Company. Hot water is recaptured from the system and used both in the milk parlor and in the cheese plant, saving approximately $1,000 a month on propane costs.
The project was praised by a host of officials and dignitaries, including Laurie ten Hope, Deputy Director, Energy Research and Development Division, California Energy Commission; Sandra Schubert, CDFA Undersecretary; Josh Glidden, PMP, Sr. Technical Project Manager, Generation Interconnection Services, Pacific Gas & Electric Company; Kathy Viatella, Managing Director of Programs, Sustainable Conservation; Rafael Silberblatt, Program Coordinator, Marin Energy Authority; Matt Summers, Summers Consulting and Cara Peck, Dairy Digester Staff Lead, Air Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, shown here presenting Robert Giacomini with the AgStar Partner Farm sign recognizing the dairy’s environmental stewardship.
A leader in agricultural stewardship and sustainability, the Giacomini family has also stepped into the agri-tourism industry, operating a recently established visitor center, The Fork. The family focuses on both entertaining and educating guests on the region’s burgeoning specialty cheese industry. The Fork’s state-of-the-art kitchen and event space, consisting of a tasting room and scenic outdoor patio, beckons guests to enjoy farm-to-table culinary events and cooking classes among other events. The power needs of The Fork are also offset by the on-site digester system. June 8, 2012 WUD Friday Update