HOUSTON, TX – August 4, 2020 – Platte River Biogas, LLC will invest capital and modify operating practices.
LaSalle, COLORADO… The process to reopen a previously shuttered digester facility on Weld County Road 49 near LaSalle began this morning.
In an email to Weld County Planning Director Tom Parko, Platte River Biogas, LLC, requested reinstatement of a suspended use by special review permit (USR) previously awarded to former facility owner Heartland Biogas.
Platte River Biogas, LLC (“PRB” or “Platte River Biogas”) is owned by an affiliate of Rockland Capital, LP (“Rockland”) a private equity fund that specializes in buying and fixing under-managed energy projects.
As mentioned in the letter, “Platte River Biogas recently purchased the facility and is in the process of reviewing and preparing engineered updates to correct the design and operating problems. PRB will be repairing existing systems, installing new equipment to overcome past problems, and instilling a management and operating discipline that will ensure the project contributes positively to the local community.”
The proposed reinstated project will differ in several distinct ways from the previous iteration – chief among them, only manure will be stored and processed on the site. Food waste – the source of several hundred odor complaints by surrounding neighbors over the course of several months in 2016 – will not be a permitted feedstock by county or state regulators.
Other changes to past operations to avoid past problems include the treatment of the liquid effluent from the digester to allow it to be used as irrigation water and the management of the manure feedstock delivery by Platte River Biogas rather than using a third party to select and control the feedstock.
Platte River Biogas president Scott Harlan expressed excitement at the prospect of having the USR reinstated by Weld County Commissioners. “After looking at the property and its infrastructure from every angle, we are confident we can create a facility that Weld County can be proud of,” said Harlan. “We are prepared to invest $20 to $25 million to correct the design problems, repair existing systems, and install new equipment to overcome past problems. Making these improvements properly and professionally will be the key to the long-term success of the project,” Harlan added.
Platte River Biogas will invest in technologies to control odor at all potential emission sources and intends to invest substantial capital to treat the water effluent from the digesters. They also plan to invest in improving roadways on-site, upgrading the raw biogas treatment equipment and installing and maintaining landscaping to improve the aesthetics of the site.
Hosting a biogas facility in Weld County provides several local and global environmental benefits. It helps keep local dairies competitive by providing a local outlet for manure management. Converting manure into renewable natural gas avoids the need to store the manure in lagoons which generate odors and release methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. When fully operational, the facility will create 10 full time jobs on site. As for greenhouse gas emissions, the renewable natural gas produced by the biogas facility, when used as an alternative transportation fuel, is estimated to eliminate the equivalent carbon dioxide emissions of 13,800 cars per year.
The USR permit reinstatement process will lead to a public hearing before the Weld Board of County Commissioners within four to six weeks of the written request. The entire process of reinstating the permit is expected to take four to six months.
About Rockland Capital
Rockland Capital (www.rocklandcapital.com) is a private equity company that was formed in early 2003 in order to acquire and develop selected investment opportunities in power and energy infrastructure markets. Rockland is currently investing Rockland Power Partners III, LP, a $454 million private equity fund with investors that include U.S. endowments and foundations, funds of funds, pension plans and family offices. The firm also manages Rockland GridFlex Partners, LP, a $200 million private equity fund, Rockland Power Partners II, LP, a $425 million fund and, Rockland Power Partners, LP, a $333 million fund. Investments have been located throughout the United States and the United Kingdom, ranging from 1,875 MW to 5 MW, fueled by natural gas, coal, biomass, oil, energy storage, wind and solar power.