A state Public Service Commission team recommends awarding $15 million to “Green Pastures Bio Energy Center” to build an integrated anaerobic digester in southeast Brown County, converting manure into energy.
The proposal from a group call BC Organics LLC was the only one of three projects that scored high enough to be considered for the grant.
The PSC is scheduled to discuss the plan when it meets in Madison at 10 a.m. today (Friday, Sept. 15).
According to a memorandum from the evaluation team:
BC Organics’ score reflects that it provided significantly greater information than the other applicants on numerous aspects of its application, which provided the Evaluation Team with greater confidence that the system would be well designed and positioned for operational success. For example, BC Organics provided significant technical detail on the specifications and operating practices of its digester system, and its presentation satisfactorily addressed a number of questions from Evaluation Team members on how system managers would address potential operational challenges. BC Organics also provided significantly more detail than either one of the other applicants on its plans for water treatment and nutrient management. Furthermore, the application and presentation by BC Organics provided thorough financial projections to establish the economic viability of the system as designed and demonstrated the positive financial implications for all of its participating farms.
BC Organics’ proposal also met a number of other goals and priorities of the RFP. The vendors involved in each aspect of the integrated system have demonstrated experience and success delivering similar technologies within Wisconsin. The planned location of the system in southeastern Brown County would allow its water treatment system to have positive effects on the Lake Michigan watershed, and serve farms in locations at enhanced risk for groundwater pollution due to soil topography. The project scores favorably on Focus’ standard cost-effective metrics at the incentive amount requested. The project is designed to complete construction by the RFP’s preferred date of December 2018. Finally, the location and design of the system would support scaling up operations in the future if they prove successful at the proposed scale.
According to the PSC memo, the project consists of 27 consortium members and includes nine participating dairy operations, with a total of 22,882 animal units. BC Organics LLC would apply the $15 million grant toward a total project cost of $60.25 million.
One of the rejected proposals would have been located in Kewaunee County. US Venture Inc. applied for a project titled “Gemini Consortium.” The proposed project would have included 11 participating dairy operations, with approximately 30,000 animal units. The consortium requested funding of $27.26 million through the RFP to support a total project cost of $55.6 million.
The third submission, also rejected, was for a project in St. Croix County.
The commission could go ahead and award the grant today, either as submitted or with revisions, or go back to the drawing board and ask for new proposals.