CenterPoint Energy, in July, wrote out a big check to a big energy customer, the Metropolitan Council; specifically, the Blue Lake Wastewater Treatment plant, accompanied by kudos for energy savings.
Savings stem from a new solids processing facility at the plant completed last year. With the help of new anaerobic digesters to process solids, the plant produces methane biogas for fuel, replacing most of the need for natural gas from CenterPoint to power the facility.
This conversion from natural gas to biogas fuels a dryer that processes solids into fertilizer pellets and saves an estimated $500,000 a year that would otherwise be spent on natural gas. That biogas fuel has enough capacity to heat about 900 households.
The check for $150,000 is a rebate for natural gas that was saved because the biogas offsets the need for natural gas, conserving the natural gas and the global warming emissions that burning the natural gas would create.
“Extracting energy from our biosolids is a good energy conservation strategy because in addition to reducing our energy costs and saving ratepayers’ money, there is the environmental benefit of reducing the community’s carbon footprint,” said Leisa Thompson, General Manager of Metropolitan Council Environmental Services.
“We especially appreciate our partners on this project who recognized the energy benefits and provided financial support to help us buy down the costs of getting the energy saving technology in place. Along with the CenterPoint rebate, we received a $2 million grant and a discount on loan interest from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority,” said Thompson.*
The Blue Lake plant in Shakopee is the third largest of the region’s wastewater treatment plants, owned and operated by the Metropolitan Council. It treats an average of 29 million gallons of wastewater per day from nearly 300,000 residents in 27 communities.
*Grant funds from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority were made available from the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.