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DeRuyter, Durfey energy projects awarded $2.7 million in loans

George DuRuyter and Sons Dairy of Outlook received nearly $2 million in a competitive state loan yesterday for continued work on its anaerobic digester that will turn cow manure into enough electricity to power 200 homes.

That was good news to Dan DeRuyter, who operates the dairy.

"It basically makes it to where we can move the project forward," he said.

Costing a total of $4 million, the DeRuyter digester project is just the second in the state. "They're not real common and there's some risk in it," DeRuyter said. "The fact the state was willing to loan us money at a great rate makes it easier to go forward."

The dairy anticipates having the digester up and running by Oct. 1 of this year.

The DeRuyter dairy loan and another non-competitive loan for $750,000 were both awarded to the Port of Sunnyside on behalf of the recipients.

"In the last session the legislature set up two programs for loans to support emerging energy projects," said Jeff Matson, a Port of Sunnyside commissioner.

The Washington Legislature in 2006 established the Energy Freedom Loan program which distributed the two loans received yesterday by the Port.

The low-interest loans are available to local governments, ports and other public entities and are intended to leverage additional private financing, the governor's office said in a press release.

Matching funds are required to cover at least one-half of the project's total cost. The Energy Freedom Loans have a 10-year term with a 1 percent annual percentage rate.

Matson said the Port's lone applicant for the $750,000 loan was Ted Durfey, an Emerald Road farmer working on a project to turn canola oil into bio-diesel.

He noted the Port will only receive the $750,000 loan if the state deems the canola-into-bio-diesel a "qualified project."

The loans were part of more than $17 million the state distributed yesterday for alternative energy programs.

Yesterday's announcement comes less than three months after DeRuyter and Sons received $500,000 and Durfey $100,000 in federal grant money for their respective projects.

The Port was also active in supporting those grant funds.

"Our goal is to do whatever we can to support economic development," Matson said.

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