The City of Plymouth has many strong ties with local businesses in their community. They also have a rich history of providing financial support to local industries by partnering with them to attain bonds, grants, loans and other financing mechanisms. This is all done with the intention of retaining and expanding businesses and jobs within Plymouth.
Over the past 20 years, the City of Plymouth has completed many efficiency improvements, including aeration, lighting, pumping, and process improvements that have saved them thousands of dollars in energy costs. Once those efficiency upgrades were made, decision makers at the city decided it was time to move towards renewable energy sources with a biogas project.
The recent biogas project through Focus on Energy was another opportunity to help support the local industries in Plymouth. Prior to the project, local cheese companies (Sargento, Sartori, Great Lakes, and Masters Gallery) were not sending the byproduct of their cheese making processes (high strength wastes) to the Plymouth Wastewater Treatment Facility (WWTF). Instead, they were transporting it to digesters that were outside the local area. The biogas project now allows the high strength waste to come to the local treatment plant which saves the cheese companies transportation and labor costs, ultimately improving their bottom line and strengthening the local economy.
"This project would never have happened without the incentive dollars from Focus on Energy and our utilities,” said Mike Penkwitz, Wastewater Superintendent of the Plymouth Waste Water Treatment Facility.
Currently, the City of Plymouth is continuing to increase high strength waste additions in an effort to produce more biogas. The micro-turbines are running at full capacity, almost round-the-clock. At times of the day when energy use is low at the WWTF, the electric meter turns backwards, feeding energy back into the electric grid.