If a would-be trash-to-ethanol developer doesn't have the money in hand to complete its project by July 19, it doesn't have a deal with the county, a top solid waste district official says.

"If you don't have the money, you don't have a deal," Lake County Solid Waste Management Executive Director Jeff Langbehn said recently. "I can't be any more explicit than that."

But Powers Energy of America officials are hoping for more time to secure 25 percent in equity financing of the $300-plus million they need to build the plant — and then to sell bonds through a financial firm for the remaining funds.

As the clock ticks down to the July 19 deadline for Powers Energy to secure financing, company officials have all but said they will not meet the edict imposed by Lake County Solid Waste Management District Board in April to secure all financing for the project.

So the question now is whether waste district officials will throw in the towel on the Powers Energy trash-to-ethanol contract, as they have threatened — or offer the company yet another extension in a long progression of missed deadlines and failures to land financing, permits and land for the project.

Langbehn said he believes waste district board members have been emphatic that Powers Energy officials need to have all, not just a portion, of the money in hand for constructing the plant or risk losing the contract.

He also pointed out that Powers Energy officials agreed to those deadline terms at an April public meeting of the waste district board. The board made the edict after more than three years had passed since signing the contract with Powers — with little or nothing to show for it.

But Ed Cleveland, who represents the region construction contractors who would build the plant, said he hopes board members will give the project more time beyond the July 19 deadline to complete financing for what he calls a worthy project. He pointed out that nine Lake County communities have adopted nonbinding agreements to send their trash to the facility if it is constructed.

Cleveland said the local contractors, including Morrison and Superior construction companies, have every faith in the process Powers would use to sort out all recyclable goods and convert the county's carbon-based trash into ethanol.

He also touted the lower garbage-processing rates the plant would bring.

Cleveland, and other Powers officials, have said the project is in negotiations with a major oil company to provide 25 percent in equity financing for the plant and buy any ethanol the plant produces.

Powers Energy official Ken Bosar told waste district board members last month the yet-unnamed oil company would be able to provide a letter of intent that it would possibly provide the equity financing following vetting of the Powers Energy plan.

But Langbehn said last week the board has made it clear that Powers Energy must have all financing for the project in hand by July 19 or risk contract cancellation.

source: nwitimes

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