Agreement signed for Illinois RNG project

By Will County, Illinois | February 18, 2021

On Feb. 10, Will County, Illinois, officials and its construction trade partners signed a project labor agreement (PLA) for the $45 million renewable natural gas (RNG) plant approved for construction at the county-owned Prairie View landfill. The agreement, signed by Will County, Harbour Contractors, Will & Grundy Counties Building Trades Council and Three Rivers Construction Alliance, paves the way for hiring local, skilled craftsman to work on the multi-million dollar project.

“By bringing together labor and business in this way, we are taking steps to help control costs, ensure quality work is being done by a local workforce and make certain the project gets done on time,” said County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant.

In an effort to expand competitive energy options for its residents, Will County officials approved the construction of a renewable natural gas (RNG) plant at the county-owned Prairie View landfill, with the intention of injecting the biogas into a nearby natural gas pipeline grid for use as a transportation fuel.

The plant will not only mitigate methane emissions going into the atmosphere, but it presents an opportunity for the County to generate millions in revenue annually. As part of the agreement, the county will sell renewable compressed natural gas (RCNG), a much cleaner burning fuel that can replace diesel fuel in vehicles.

“Will County is committed to protecting our environment while providing cost-effective energy solutions for our residents,” said County Executive Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant. “
An additional benefit of this agreement is the sale of the natural gas will generate a revenue stream to fund important county services for our residents with any reliance on property taxes.”

The County will produce an estimated 7.7 million diesel gallon equivalents (DGE) of renewable fuel annually based on projections and can reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 60,000 metric tons annually.

In 2010, the county began an agreement with Waste Management to convert a portion of the methane gas created from decomposing the landfill to power a 4.8 megawatt Gas to Electricity (GTE) plant. This electricity is then sold on the local market to residents and businesses. Currently the county receives $450,000 annually from the sale of this methane gas which helps fund county operations.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the county to fully realize the economic benefits of this landfill,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The cost for providing necessary services to our residents continues to rise and it is up to all of us as elected officials to find alternate revenue sources and not place additional burdens on our taxpayers. This new plant satisfies the county’s commitment to protecting our resources and maintaining the quality services our residents and business owners need and expect.”

The new agreement will allow for the sale of all the methane gas. After an initial investment of an estimated $46 million to build the RNG plant and pipeline, the county could receive $12 - $20 million annually, based upon market prices, in non-taxpayer revenue for more than 25 years. It is estimated that the RNG Plant and pipeline will cost several million dollars to operate.

Following a request for proposals (RFP) process, the county hired a local firm, Harbour Contractors to build the RNG plant, who will hire local labor and SCS Energy, to design and procure equipment for the RNG plant, which is anticipated to begin operations by Summer of 2022. A Project Labor Agreement (PLA) will be signed between the County, Harbour Contractors and the local labor groups on February 9th. The county board also approved an agreement with U.S. Venture for 10 years to purchase the renewable energy to sell as Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), a much cleaner burning fuel that can replace diesel fuel in vehicles. U.S. Venture has some CNG stations in Will County.