Waste conversion gaining energy
After four years of discussion, it appears a proposed waste-to-energy conversion plant is a few steps closer to becoming a reality.
Kara Baker, owner of KVB, Inc., reported Tuesday the project near Hamilton City is working on its environmental impact report application with assistance from environmental engineer Chris Richgels of Roseville.
Richgels is writing the project description and addressing hydrology issues related to a Federal Emergency Management Agency flood map of the property, he said, in an update to Glenn County Supervisors.
Another KVB, Inc. consultant, Ryne Johnson, said financial institutions also are expressing interest in the project such as Union Bank and Resource Efficiency Finance.
If built, the plant would take Glenn County's solid waste stream and recycle it with a goal also of converting some material into electricity or other energy sources.
However, Johnson said a long-term "feedstock" supply or (waste stream) agreement is needed that would include not just Glenn County but its two cities to ensure the plant's viability.
Investors also indicate they want to see a long-term power purchase agreement for energy produced at the facility, he said.
But the project is far from shovel ready as the environmental review could take from six months to a year and a half to complete.
Richgels said the FEMA 100-year flood plain map suggests the property off Highway 32 is part of the flood plain based on old hydraulic findings made in 1968 by the California Reclamation Board when it was used as a rock quarry.
However, most of the parcel is not likely to flood from nearby Stony Creek, he said, based on its current elevation and other scientific information he has gathered today.
He suggested the county as a public agency seek to have the map re-drawn based on evidence he would submit so the project could move forward.
The board directed Public Works and Planning Director John Linhart to write a letter of map review and come back at the Feb. 5 meeting with information on the process.
Baker's company sees no other environmental issues that would have a significant potential to challenge the project's viability, officials said.
Supervisors reiterated their support for the plant.
"The board continues to support this project," Supervisor Steve Soeth said, and his comments were echoed by his four colleagues.
But they said more frequent communication between Baker and county officials will be needed as the process goes a head including the designation of company representatives to handle various aspects of the project paperwork and activities.
A working group of two supervisors, Baker and her consultants, Linhart and County Finance Director Ed Lamb is to begin meeting again this month to share information on the project and address concerns as they arise.
The city managers from Orland and Willows may also be asked to participate along with representatives of the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and other agencies that have interest in the issue.
Glenn County is in the process of developing a closure plan for its landfill west of Artois on County Road 33.
Once the landfill closes, waste will have to hauled either to the KVB plant or to other landfills out of the county, officials said.
Johnson said another financing alternative for the project is to look at a pollution control bond that could pay for it over 20 years.
He said he would ask a representative from the National Development Council to come speak to the board on this concept in the future. That organization is a leading economic development/capital project finance consulting firm from New York.
Johnson described financing such a project as "tricky" since it requires investors familiar with waste-to-energy conversion, so they understand how the plant and company would work.
This a new field, he said, so there are not a lot of financial entities with that knowledge, but he has found some reputable institutions that are willing to take a look at it.