RENO, Nev. | Greater Commercial Lending (GCL), which provides loans to businesses and organizations in under-served and rural communities, has completed nearly $73 million in financing for two facilities in North Carolina that will turn a natural byproduct of landfills into renewable natural gas. The financing is guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The Foothills Renewables Project in Caldwell County, NC, and the Upper Piedmont Renewables Project in Person County, NC, are being developed by EVENSOL LLC, which develops and acquires renewable fuels-based assets in the biomass, biogas and biofuels sectors. The North Carolina facilities will sell the renewable natural gas to bp, whose ambition is to become a net zero company by 2050 or sooner and to help the world get to net zero.
Construction of the facilities has already begun, and plant construction is targeted for completion in Q3 2022, with commissioning and operations to follow.
“We are delighted to be helping make possible landfill-gas-to-renewable-natural-gas projects that will enhance sustainability, and also bring jobs and positive economic activity to two regions in North Carolina that need the boost,” said Jeremy Gilpin, executive vice president of GCL.
“EVENSOL is a highly experienced group with a track record in successful, renewable energy project development and operations. While solar and wind energy get a lot of attention, the biogas niche is a workhorse of the renewables sector and provides a reliable and solid flow of energy,” Gilpin added.
The EVENSOL principals pointed out that the availability of USDA-guaranteed credit via GCL has made an important difference for the projects, from both business and efficiency standpoints.
“From a pure financing perspective, our ability to access a significant portion of the projects’ required capital at very competitive rates, from GCL is a unique benefit for these projects and our investors. From both an operational and financial perspective, the availability of this type of project financing is very important,” said David Wentworth, President and CEO at EVENSOL, which is based in Sisters, Oregon.
“Renewable natural gas is, by its nature, a variable-priced product. That often makes financing both challenging and expensive. GCL has enabled us to take advantage of a federal program at a low interest rate that is stable. It’s an enormous benefit for us. The USDA program is an asset to the renewables sector, and GCL has helped make the process and the terms very straightforward. Importantly, this arrangement should be replicable for other projects down the road,” said Benny Benson, president of ENERGYneering Solutions, which is designing and constructing the facilities, and will operate the plants upon completion.
The Upper Piedmont and Foothills Renewables Projects each focus on capturing landfill gas, which is primarily methane, and processing it into renewable natural gas. These projects make an important impact for the environment by taking a natural byproduct of waste and turning it into energy. Both projects include the development, design, permitting, construction, commissioning and operations of a state-of-the-art landfill gas-fueled renewable natural gas (RNG) facility. Primary processing components include: Air Liquide MEDAL membrane systems for CO2 separation, Vilter Compression Packages, Perennial LFG blowers and refrigeration, Guild N2 rejection systems, High Voltage Switchgear, Step-Up Transformer(s) and Industrial Grade Radiators/Silencers. These are all housed in and around rigid frame metal buildings, designed to optimize sound attenuation, together with supporting and ancillary equipment and gas and electrical interconnection infrastructure.