A Colorado company plans to build an alternative energy plant in Mason City. Creative Energy Systems proposes a $35-million plant that would transform waste headed for the landfill into a synthetic gas, then into electricity. Company president Joe Yavorski says one challenge was finding a county-owned landfill to work with instead of a corporate waste handler.
“Waste Management has a lot of the trash stream locked down,” Yavorski says. “They make a lot of money burying trash and running landfills.” It means the company had to look for a community-based landfill, like the Landfill of North Iowa, that was willing to listen to their proposal and allow access to their waste stream.
Yavorski says there are similar “gasification” facilities like this in Europe and Africa, and this would be the first-of-its-kind in North America. Minnesota has several open-burn incineration-style plants, but this plant would not be the closed-style and would be the first in America at the 10-megawatt size.
Yavorski says they wanted to build the plant in Colorado, but it’s not one of 24 states that consider waste-to-energy products as renewable energy. That designation allows for tax credits to be used by companies accepting the energy, which in this case, is Alliant Energy.
Yavorski says they’re not only focused on creating renewable energy but also on creating at least 50 jobs in the Mason City area. He hopes this facility will set an example for similar plants to be built throughout the nation. He says they could automate the plants and have just over 20 employees, but the company wants to make this plant a showcase so they can bring in other potential clients and expand.
Creative Energy Systems is working on a deal with Mason City for a ten-year tax abatement. The proposal is scheduled to be discussed at the city council’s October 4th meeting.
By Bob Fisher, KRIB, Mason City