City council awards Florida landfill gas project an extension

By Erin Voegele | September 19, 2013

On Sept. 12, the city council of St. Cloud, Fla., voted 3-to-2 to extend a deadline that will allow RenuEn Corp. to proceed with a proposed landfill gas project. According to statements made by the council members during the meeting, the company has until Nov. 14 to meet a set of four requirements. If the requirements are not met, RenuEn’s contract with the city will automatically terminate.

The city council has granted other deadline extensions in the past, the most recent of which called for the landfill gas project to be operational by the end of August.

To maintain compliance with the extension, RenuEn must make significant progress on construction of the project, take prescribed action with regard to a lawsuit against the city filed by the company’s former engineering firm, make on-time lease payments to the city and commence royalty payments of $2,500 per month.

J. Charles Nemes, chief operating officer of RenuEn, spoke on behalf of the company during the city council meeting. While construction on the project has not commenced, Nemes stressed RenuEn has already purchased equipment for the project and is ready to break ground as soon as the final permitting hurdle is crossed. “We are literally shove ready—at the 1 year line—ready to construct the plant the minute the city issues a permit,” said Nemes during the meeting, noting that full funding for the project is already in place. “Our funding is in place, we have probably about $75,000 worth of materials sitting in tractor trailers at the St. Cloud facility waiting to be installed,” he continued. The only issue has been with the issuance of a building permit. We have over $2.5 million in equipment that is sitting in a warehouse 10 miles from here.”

During the meeting, Nemes elaborated on the missing permit. The city fire inspector did not approve project plans earlier this year, citing life safety issues that needed revising. According to information presented by Nemes during the city council meeting, those issues have now been addressed through subsequent engineering activities. Nemes said his company can have updated materials delivered to the fire inspector within 15 days, and plans to start construction within 10 days of when the permit is approved. The company’s goal is to have the project operational by the end of the year.

The landfill gas project was originally proposed and developed by Team Energy Inc., which is a company affiliated with the University of Central Florida’s Business Incubation Program. RenuEn acquired Team Energy in September 2012.  

Earlier this month RenuEn announced the signing of a five-year offtake agreement with Dubai-based Al-Gahry Trading, which will use biogas from the project as fuel for its U.S.-based trucking firms.