By Mike Williscraft
The ground was officially broken for the much talked about biodigester, built by the Town of Grimsby at a cost of $4.5 million.
The Sobie Road plant should be operational by late fall, said Grimsby Energy Board chair James Detenbeck at the ground breaking ceremony Monday morning.
Mayor Bob Bentley noted the project was a long time coming, almost five full years since it was first approved as a project.
“We’re excited to see construction start,” said Bentley, adding that the Town has applied for provincial and federal grants to subsidize the cost but, should those not materialize, the project will proceed regardless.
Detenbeck said the supply chain for raw materials which will feed the biodigester system has been established.
“We have everything from grape pomace to chicken and pig manure to silage,” said Detenbeck, who noted all the raw material is fed into the system in combination as a power generating “recipe”.
The site, on Sobie, just east of Park Road will include a series of storage units for each type of raw input material.
Bentley noted there may be capacity for fats, oils and greases.
While Bentley noted the gross revenue on the projected, over 20 years, is expected to be about $25 million, there has been no outline of the operating costs to generate that revenue.
The concept for the project is simple: raw materials are reduced into methane gas which will be used to power a generator which will feed the created power onto the grid.
Opponents of the project have noted concerns with odour in the area, as well as the lack of information on input material costs.
Detenbeck said odour should not be an issue and, if there is any, they would do whatever was needed to solve it as that would be a sign the facility was not working properly and, as a result, costing the utility money.
Panetta said the operation is a great fit for the area since it can utilize locally produced raw material, which will “keep our community clean.”