After several months attempting to sell the Elk River Resource Recovery Project to area counties and private investors, Great River Energy anticipates it will close the waste-to-energy project by March 15, 2019.
The Elk River Resource Recovery Project consists of: the Elk River Resource Processing Plant, which processes municipal solid waste into fuel; the Elk River Energy Recovery Station, a 30-megawatt renewable waste-to-energy power plant; and the Becker Ash Landfill. Great River Energy has operated the Elk River Energy Recovery Station as a waste-to-energy plant since 1989 and purchased the landfill and Elk River Resource Processing Plant in 2010. Approximately 85 employees work at the facilities.
This decision to close the Elk River Resource Recovery Project will not impact Great River Energy’s other operations in Elk River where an additional 135 employees work at a peaking power plant and an office/warehouse/garage complex in operations, transmission, power generation, telecommunications and other fields.
Challenges procuring sufficient municipal solid waste and low prices in the regional energy market have posed economic challenges to the Elk River Resource Recovery Project for years. However, the project has remained an important waste management resource for the metro area.
“The plant’s long, successful record has been possible thanks to a talented staff and supportive community,” said David Saggau, Great River Energy president and CEO. “We are making every effort to minimize impacts on our employees and the community through this transition. Though difficult, this decision is made in the best interest of our membership.”
Great River Energy is owned by and provides wholesale electricity to 28 electric cooperatives in Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin, all of which are member-owned, not-for-profit organizations.