Green Bay biopower plant receives air and waste permits

By Lisa Gibson | September 19, 2011

The 5-megawatt biomass power station proposed for Green Bay, Wis., has received its air and waste permits from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and is ready to move forward with construction, having already conducted some site preparation work.

The Oneida Seven Generations Corp. Renewable Energy Facility will be located in an industrial area of Green Bay’s west side and will consume 150 tons of municipal solid waste per day, supplied through contracts with private haulers as well as municipalities. The waste will be sorted and nonhazardous, nonrecyclables will be gasified with the resulting power sold to Wisconsin Public Service, according to Oneida.

Oneida Seven Generations Corp. is a subsidiary of the Oneida Tribe of Indians and had originally proposed its $23 million facility for Ashwaubenon, Wis., but moved its plans to the more inviting city of Green Bay after fierce local opposition in Ashwaubenon derailed development. The plant still has a small but vocal opposition group in Green Bay, but it doesn’t threaten development.

The only outstanding ruling before construction can begin is expected from the U.S. DOE this month. The DOE made a preliminary determination in August that the project will not cause significant adverse environmental impacts and proposed authorizing the state of Wisconsin and the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs to use federal funding to support the project. The DOE wrapped up a 30-day comment period on its preliminary finding Sept. 3 and is now working on its final ruling, according to Oneida.

“We’re excited about what this will do to help the environment as well as the community,” said Oneida Seven Generations CEO Kevin Cornelius. “We’ll reduce the volume of garbage going into landfills, increase recycling, create jobs and provide electricity. It really is a model for the future.”