Money will be used to build and operate an anaerobic digester in Wisconsin.
The investment banking firm Baker Tilly Capital LLC, headquartered in Chicago, has served as a consultant to GreenWhey Energy Inc. in the recent closing of $28.5 million in construction and long-term financing for an anaerobic digester facility in Turtle Lake, Wis. When completed in the summer of 2013, the project is expected to be one of the largest facilities of its kind in the United States.
“We are proud to be associated with the GreenWhey Energy project as they are helping to create a more sustainable future by solving waste treatment issues and harnessing alternative energy sources at the same time”, says Michael Land, director, Baker Tilly Capital.
Project investment included senior loan financing from Caterpillar Financial Services, New Markets Tax Credit financing from CAP Services Inc., as well as equity funding from Geo Investors Fund. The project will also qualify for a federal grant (Section 1603) upon completion of construction. The 1603 grant is being bridged by a financing agreement that includes participation from the Wisconsin State Energy Program, which is administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
In addition to securing commitments from each of the above mentioned funding parties, Baker Tilly Capital also supported management’s negotiation and structuring of project agreements required by funding parties as conditions to closing. These included multiple wastewater feedstock agreements, the power purchase agreement, the design supply agreement with the technology provider and multiple construction contracts.
According to Tom Ludy, president of GreenWhey Energy, 500,000 gallons per day of wastewater from several local food processors that is currently being disposed of mostly through land spreading, will be converted into 3.2 megawatts of renewable energy, process heat and fertilizer.
The project is believed to be the first privately owned waste water treatment facility in Wisconsin that brings together the organic waste from multiple food producers – mostly cheese and dairy - into a central facility to treat that waste and generate electricity.
The electricity produced by the project will be sold to Xcel Energy and will be enough to power 3,000 Wisconsin households, GreenWhey estimates.
The facility is designed to help the Village of Turtle Lake attract and retain current employers in the food production industry without stressing the capacity of the municipal sewer treatment plant or having to requests taxpayers finance an additional plant expansion.
Several added benefits to the local community from the project are expected, including the reduction of wastewater issues associated with the run off of phosphorus into lakes, rivers and streams. While lessoning odors for neighbors, the digester will also reduce about 100,000 tons of annual carbon dioxide equivalent Green House Gas emissions. The heat produced will be sold back to local factories, reducing the amount of natural gas needed to run industrial processes. The byproduct from the digester process will be turned into clean, organic fertilizer for area farmers.
The project will provide 50-75 construction jobs and up to 13 full time equivalent operating jobs. The project also is expected to provide a direct benefit to local food processors that need to manage their cost of waste water disposal in order to stay competitive.