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La Crosse looks for experts who can work on plan to generate power at waste water treatment plant



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.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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  1. Kent Porter

    February 13, 2023 at 7:26 am

    Ask City Brewery , they have been selling power to Gundersen for years , Why do they always have to hire some out of town expert at $80000 to do something that has been done already , next thing you know the Mayor will hire an expert to figure out how to plug in the new electric busees , which have a habit of starting on fire , dont park them to close to one another , there see free advice !!!!!!!!!!!!!h

    • Steve Hildahl

      April 22, 2023 at 10:15 am

      The Gundersen partnership with the brewery to basically do the same thing was a expensive flop.

      The gas is to corrosive to burn in the engines even after several attempts to scrub the gas cleaner it ruined the engines in short order.

      Save your money La Crosse!

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