Havre and Helena are the sites for energy-efficiency tours that will be held this month by Montana’s Alternative Energy Resources Organization.
The tours also feature solar, wind and methane energy systems, as well as a plan to use algae to process wastewater and potentially biodiesel.
The tours are open to the public and are funded, in part, by a grant from NorthWestern Energy through the Universal System Benefits program.
From 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Friday in Havre, participants will go on a home-power tour showcasing a variety of renewable energy applications that make sense for a home, farm or business.
The city of Havre also will showcase how solar energy applications at City Hall and the airport are helping reduce the municipality’s utility bill. Additionally, a visit to Montana State University-Northern’s campus will highlight small wind power systems, including a 2.5-kilowatt turbine scheduled to be installed before the tour.
The college’s Applied Technology staff also will show off a sun tracking unit that increases the efficiency of solar panels. And, at the MSU-Northern Biodiesel Laboratory, participants can learn about transportation and home heating applications for the locally produced fuel.
The tour includes Kathi Montgomery, public education specialist for the state Department of Environmental Quality, discussing ways to take advantage of grants, loans and tax credits for renewable energy and conservation projects.
The cost of the tour is $10 and includes light snacks. Registration with AERO is required. Call 406-443-7272 for more information.
From 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sept. 18 in Helena, participants will tour the city’s wastewater treatment facility, where energy efficiency innovations are largely responsible for an 18 percent drop in total energy usage for all municipal operations from 2001 to 2006.
One such innovation is a methane-powered Stirling generator that produces 35-40 kilowatts of electricity on a nearly constant basis to offset the facility’s electric load. The methane is captured in the facility’s primary anaerobic digesters.
The city of Helena is leading the state with such efforts and is considering installing additional Stirling generators, according to officials.
During the tour, Joseph Menicucci, president of CTW Energy, will describe plans to use algae in the wastewater remediation process, which could boost methane production and potentially serve as a feedstock for producing biodiesel fuel.
The tour includes light snacks. The cost is free, but registration with AERO is required. For more information, call 406-443-7272.