Grand Rapids Business Journal
A local waste management facility is under new leadership through a sustainable partnership.
Kent County Department of Public Works partnered with Boston-based Vicinity Energy, a decarbonization leader with a portfolio of district energy systems, for the operations of the county’s Waste-to-Energy facility at 950 Market Ave. SW in Grand Rapids.
The two organizations entered into a long-term service agreement that ensures the facility will operate safely and efficiently.
For Kent County, the partnership will save in operating costs annually and boost the county’s commitment to the environment and quality service.
“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 Waste-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 facility employees to its team and said it will hire more team members to ensure reliable service. The partnership marks a critical milestone in Vicinity’s commitment to sustainability and bringing new jobs to West Michigan, according to leadership.
“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, COO and deputy CEO 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.”
Since 1990, the Waste-to-Energy facility has served Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Walker, Kentwood, Wyoming and Grandville by incinerating non-hazardous solid waste from municipal and commercial operations.
The facility prevents 190,000 tons of waste each year from going into landfills, generates enough energy to power 11,000 homes and recovers enough steel to make 3,000 cars.
The facility upholds the highest environmental standards, such as Michigan’s Clean Corporate Citizen designation each year since 2006. The facility also meets or exceeds federal standards set forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other regulatory bodies, operating on average at 90% below permit limits.
In addition to the new Waste-to-Energy facility partnership, Vicinity Energy also owns and operates the heating and cooling facility, which provides clean steam to 10 million square feet of space in downtown Grand Rapids. Vicinity’s district energy system maintains 90-95% efficiency year-round.