Proposed $17M Biogas Plant Could Supply Kraft With Green Energy
An area just outside the village of Lowville could become home to a plant that turns manure and food waste into methane gas.
The gas would be piped into the nearby Kraft plant to help power its operations.
"So, it's a green energy project and it sustains Kraft for the next 15 to 20 years," said Paul Toretta, CEO of CH4 Biogas.
The Connecticut-based company already has a biogas plant near Rochester and is now gaging community support for a $17 million project in Lowville, one the company says would be a win-win for farmers, Kraft and the environment.
Company officials say the cheap energy could make Kraft's future more secure in Lowville and might even help lead to an expansion.
"They'd have a fixed supply of cheap power and cheap heat," Toretta said.
Some people, however, are concerned that processing manure and food waste would be smelly.
"I'm very concerned about the significance of the value of homes," said Lowville village board member Dan Salmon, "what kind of odor this'll have."
The company says its state-of-the-art digester would leave fewer smells in the area, because less liquid manure would be spread on farmers' fields.
"If you come to our plant, you'd realize the odors are absolutely controlled," Toretta said. "We don't have any smells."
Even so, some are still concerned about property values.
"I think it's a great project," said J.D. Ross, who lives near the proposed site. "I'm not so sure the location is right."
Environmental permits, land right-of-ways, contracts with farmers and Kraft - there's a long to-do list before construction could begin next spring.
Right now, the company is just looking for Lowville to say it wants the plant and it wants an answer in the next couple of months.
Thursday, June 20, 2013, Watertown, NY
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