Pleasant View Gardens has earned an electrifying half-million-dollar renewable energy grant to power its biomass burner efforts, which has drastically diminished its dependency on oil.
The payoff at their Pembroke location, home to the new system, makes it more than worth it: A potential 85 percent cut in heating costs. The biomass burner, which is fueled by wood chips, will cut oil use at Pembroke to zero.
"Given drastic increases in heating costs, we knew it was time to make a move. Alternative power was a natural choice for us," said Henry Huntington, president of Pleasant View Gardens. "With oil prices on the rise, the proof is in the numbers. At this point, when you see a four-year payback or less, to me, that's a no-brainer."
Faced with $3.50-per-gallon oil and a $1 million fuel bill at the Pembroke facility alone, Pleasant View began exploring alternative power options, eventually choosing a Hurst biomass burner and boiler with a reciprocating grate system. With wood chips at $35 a ton, Pleasant View Pembroke's 4,200-ton requirement lowers the heating bill to just $150,000 annually.
To supplement the $2 million system cost, Pleasant View undertook the painstaking application process for the federal Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency loans and grants program. This meant forming a five-person internal committee and working with a grant-writing firm, the local USDA office and vendors to prepare documentation. Ultimately, they earned the largest grant of its kind the industry has ever seen, according to Pleasant View Gardens.
Total oil use at Pleasant View's two facilities will drop by almost half, from 600,000 gallons for both locations to only 350,000 gallons burned at the Loudon location.
Pleasant View has long been known for their focus on energy savings and cost reduction, with a roster of innovative programs, such as Enhanced Liners, Fast Tracks, Plant & Ship and Pre-Finished, which help customers cut their crop times by as much as half.
Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency loans and grants are available to growers of any size. Contact your local USDA  office for details.
For more information about the new biomass burner or any of Pleasant View's programs, visit www.pwpvg.com  or call (603) 435-8361.