Site of proposed MSW plant near Chicago up for sale

By Kris Bevill | October 19, 2011

In June this year, developers of a 42 MMgy municipal solid waste (MSW)-to-ethanol plant near Chicago in Lake County, Ind., announced they finally had a line on financing for the $300 million project and all signs pointed toward construction of the facility to begin before summer’s end. In fact, Earl Powers, CEO of Powers Energy of America Inc., said it had also received a commitment for an additional $300 million to construct a sister plant in Fairfax County, Va., later this year. But this week, the stretch of land that had been pegged as the site of the Lake County plant went on the market, the physical “For Sale” sign serving as a larger indicator that this project may have reached its end. 

Repeated attempts to contact Powers or another representative of the company in recent weeks have been unsuccessful. In September, Powers told EPM negotiations with the hedge fund that had agreed to commit $600 million for the two ethanol projects had been difficult, but terms were finally agreed to and he expected to be fully funded by the end of September. “That’s what they’ve agreed to and we’ve signed papers to that effect,” he said at the time. “Unless something crazy happens. And anything can happen. But as far as I know, everything was finalized and we think we’ll be funded by the end of the month.” Once the money was in place, construction of the plant was expected to begin immediately, he said.

Realty firm Commercial Advantage Inc. of Merrillville confirmed that the land previously planned for the ethanol plant is now for sale, but declined to comment further.