Xcel Energy and the city of La Crosse are on a job search to find experts, who can help produce energy from waste that arrives at the local sewer plant.
The power proposal for Isle La Plume has received approval from city leaders.
Matt Gallager, the city engineer, said they plan to seek contractors who have experience in this kind of operation.
“Xcel and the city would put out an RFP (request for proposal), and would probably limit that to firms that do this type of work, we’d have some sort of pre-qualification to make we’re getting somebody who does this work and is probably within the designers that Xcel has used before,” Gallager told the board of public works.
Gallager said the city could save money by having Xcel Energy own some of the generating equipment, instead of bringing in outside specialists.
He also believes the microgrid project will probably pay off in the long run, even if benefits aren’t obvious right away.
“Is it worth the city to meet our own goals of using the methane gas in that way to produce our own electricity, to be greener, to be more sustainable, and to take advantage of those sort of innate benefits, even if the money right away doesn’t look like it’s a good return on investment?” Gallager said.
The microgrid project is expected to save about $45,000 a year in utility bills at the wastewater treatment plant, once it’s in operation.