GR waste-to-energy plant gets new manager

GRAND RAPIDS–Vicinity Energy, the Boston-based power generation firm, announced a partnership with the Kent County Department of Public Works to operate a waste-to-energy plant in Grand Rapids.

Vicinity and Kent County have entered into a long-term service agreement that ensures the facility will operate safely and efficiently. The partnership will save Kent County in operating costs annually while reinforcing its commitment to quality service, the environment, and the local workforce.

“For more than 30 years, waste-to-energy has been a key part of Kent County’s integrated waste management system, and it allows our community to responsibly and reliably dispose of solid waste while producing local energy and reducing the amount of waste going into landfills,” said Dar Baas, director of the Kent County Department of Public Works. “We’re continuing to invest in the wastde-to-energy facility, and this new partnership with Vicinity will ensure it operates safely and efficiently for years to come.”

Vicinity has welcomed the existing plant employees to its team and will hire more team members to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable services are delivered to the residents and businesses served by the facility. This partnership marks a critical milestone in Vicinity’s commitment to sustainability and bringing new jobs and services to West Michigan.

“We are proud to serve as the new operator of this critical piece of Kent County’s waste management system and look forward to continuing to work with the community well into the future,” said Kevin Hagerty, deputy CEO and COO of Vicinity Energy. “In addition to ensuring a smooth transition from the prior operator, our team has been hard at work on providing the most reliable, resilient, and sustainable services possible.”

The plant incinerates non-hazardous solid waste from municipal and commercial operations in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker, and Wyoming. Each year, the plant prevents 190,000 tons of waste from going to landfill, generates enough energy to power 11,000 homes, and recovers enough steel to make 3,000 cars.

The plant has won a Michigan’s Clean Corporate Citizen (C3) designation each year since 2006. It also meets or exceeds the strictest federal standards set forth by the EPA and other regulatory bodies and employs sophisticated clean-air technologies to achieve superior environmental performance. The plant operates, on average, 90% below permit limits.

Vicinity also owns and operates the heating and cooling plant that provides clean steam to about 10 million square feet of space in downtown Grand Rapids. Vicinity’s district energy system maintains between 90-95% efficiency year-round. All Grand Rapids customers connected to district energy have a 38% lower annual carbon footprint than if they were to self-generate heat, with future improvements intended to offer renewable, carbon-free energy solutions as part of Vicinity’s Clean Energy Future plan.

The Kent County Department of Public Works provides municipal solid waste disposal services to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste through various facilities and programs, including waste-to-energy, recycling, an education center, the North Kent Transfer Station, and South Kent Landfill.

Vicinity Energy produces and distributes reliable, clean steam, hot water, and chilled water to over 230 million square feet of building space nationwide. Vicinity is committed to achieving net zero carbon across its portfolio by 2050. Vicinity continuously invests in its infrastructure and the latest technologies to accelerate the decarbonization of commercial and institutional buildings in city centers. For more information about Vicinity

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