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PNS Daily Newscast - April 20, 2018 


The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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First Community-Owned MA Biodiesel Plant to Open Early 2016

Construction is nearing completion on the Northeast Biodiesel plant in Greenfield. Co-op Power has invested more than $3 million to open the first community-owned biodiesel refinery in the region. (Co-op Power)
Construction is nearing completion on the Northeast Biodiesel plant in Greenfield. Co-op Power has invested more than $3 million to open the first community-owned biodiesel refinery in the region. (Co-op Power)
December 14, 2015

BOSTON – Sometime next month a new plant in Greenfield should start cranking out clean biodiesel fuel that is manufactured from recycled cooking oil.

Co-op Power CEO Lynn Benander says the plant will take cooking oil waste from restaurants, schools and institutions in the area and convert it into millions of gallons of a clean source of energy that works in both vehicles and for heating homes.

"The way that biodiesel is clean is that it cuts the carbon emissions by 86 percent, cuts down particulate emissions over diesel fuel,” she explains. “So, it is a clean alternative to the fossil fuels that we are using to stay warm and get around."

Benander says the Northeast Biodiesel Plant in Greenfield is not the first refinery of this type in the region, but it will be the first that is locally owned. She says a big reason that Co-op Power got involved in the project was that there was very little access to this type of clean fuel in the region.

Isaac Baker, director of Community Shared Solar programs at Co-op Power, says there were opportunities to allow outside investors to get involved in the project, but co-op officials decided it made more sense to keep the investment local. He says those outside investors would have limited community control.

"Someone might decide to go and sell the asset to a foreign company, where we would have no control over who was receiving the lowest cost benefit, or whether or not the plant was just shut down,” he explains. “So, that's what the cooperative brings."

Benander says there currently is not much access to biofuel for truckers in the region, but providing that access will make a major difference in the long run.

"It is the only clean alternative for trucks and buses, and construction equipment and farm equipment,” she states.
“It plays a very important role in those industries. "

The co-op is investing $3.5 million to build the plant and says the 14 people who end up working there will also have shares in the cooperative.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - MA