Still no word on Florida trash-to-ethanol plant
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent March 21, 2013 9:44PM
This field just west of U.S 41 on the north side of Schneider would be the future site of a garbage-to-ethanol plant in Lake County. Powers Energy of America chose Schneider as it's host community for it's $285 million garbage-to-ethanol plant more than four years ago. | File photo~Post-Tribune
Updated: April 23, 2013 2:42PM
CROWN POINT — Only nine days remain in the first quarter and Lake County still has no word on whether the Ineos Bio trash-to-ethanol plant in Vero Beach, Fla., is in commercial production.
David Hamm, chairman of the Lake County Solid Waste Management District, said he plans to give SMC LLC, the local construction consortium working on a deal to take over the proposed trash-to-ethanol plant in Schneider from Powers Energy America, the full first quarter before he calls the matter before the board again.
“It’s not on the agenda this meeting given all the dialogue we had about the first quarter,” Hamm said.
In January, Ed Cleveland, spokesman for SMC, told board members the Ineos plant in Vero Beach, Fla., was expected to be in full commercial production by the first quarter of 2013 when he made a plea for more time to pursue the project.
Cleveland had said while SMC is interested in pursuing the project, the conglomerate needs to see the Vero Beach plant in commercial production before it will exercise its option to purchase the rights and contract from Powers.
So far, that production has not happened.
Earlier this week, Schneider Town Council President Richard Ludlow said the plant has some repair and modification issues and is not yet commercially producing ethanol. Schneider said he did not know if the company would meet the first-quarter predictions.
The board entered into a contract with Powers Energy in 2008 for the trash-to-ethanol plant that was pitched by Powers as a solution to the county’s solid waste problems for the next 20 year and has spent the past four years waiting for significant progress on the deal. After multiple failed financing attempts and an increasingly strained relationship with the solid waste board, Powers Energy agreed in the fall to the deal that will enable SMC to take over the project.
No representatives from SMC or Powers Energy were at the meeting Thursday.
Hamm said the matter will be on the agenda in April.
“Next meeting, the quarter will be over,” he said.