Godfrey & Kahn Updates
February 25, 2013
by Arthur J. Harrington and Thomas W. Henshue
On Feb. 18, GreenWhey Energy Inc. announced it had secured the construction and long term financing required to construct and operate its innovative anaerobic digester facility in Turtle Lake, WI. When completed, in the summer of 2013, the project is expected to be one of the largest facilities of its kind in the United States. The digester will process 500,000 gallons per day of wastewater from local food companies, creating 3.2 mega watts of electricity as well as process feed and fertilizer that may be used in local farming operations.
The project is believed to be the first privately-owned wastewater treatment facility in Wisconsin that brings together the organic waste from multiple food producers (mostly cheese and dairy) into a central facility to treat that waste and generate electricity. The electricity produced by the project will be sold to Xcel Energy and will be enough to power 3,000 average Wisconsin households.
Several additional local community benefits are expected from the project, including reduction of wastewater issues associated with the run off of phosphorus into lakes, rivers and streams. While lessening odors for neighbors, the digester will also reduce approximately 100,000 tons of annual CO2 equivalent Green House Gas emissions. The heat produced will be sold back to local factories reducing the amount of natural gas needed to run industrial processes. Bi-product from the digester process will be turned into clean and organic fertilizer to offer area farmers a nutrient-rich soil supplement.
Project investment of approximately $28 million was arranged by Baker Tilly Capital, LLC, financial advisor to GreenWhey. The financing included senior loan financing from Caterpillar Financial Services as well as mezzanine financing by Geo Investors Renewable Energy Fund, L.P., which is managed by Global Infrastructure Asset Management of Chicago, Illinois. The project will also qualify for a federal grant upon completion of construction. The federal grant is being bridged by, among other measures, a financing agreement, which includes a participation from the Wisconsin State Energy Program administered by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
Godfrey & Kahn was pleased to represent Geo-Investors in connection with this transaction. Our Environmental & Energy Strategies Practice Group has extensive experience representing clients in connection with many innovative energy projects, and we are proud to add the GreenWhey project to that list. For a complete list of representative energy projects for Godfrey & Kahn, please click here.