Gypsum gladly greets new biomass plant representative | VailDaily.com

Gypsum gladly greets new biomass plant representative

Gypsum Town Council members assert they want an improved relationship with new owners

A representative from the Gypsum biomass plant met with members of the Gypsum Town Council this week.
Daily file photo

GYPSUM — It was no easy task for Gypsum to negotiate with the Eagle Valley Clean Energy Biomass Plant owners in the lead-up to a sale of the property earlier this month.

Earlier this month, Gypsum town attorney Bob Cole told members of the Gypsum Town Council that the staff did a lot of heavy lifting to resolve outstanding litigation with Eagle Valley Clean Energy to clear the way for the April 25 sale to Greenbacker Renewable Energy Company LLC.

A representative from the new owners confirmed that assertion and set the stage for a litigation-free future.

Jason Fike introduced himself as a Greenbacker representative but noted that he is not an officer of the publicly listed company.

“We are happy to be here and we are looking to expand in Colorado,” Fike said. “This is the only biomass plant we own, but we own a lot of other similar plants around the country.”

He noted that Greenbacker has invested $300 million in renewable energy projects and has more than 6,500 shareholders. The company has invested in several solar projects in Colorado, Fike said.

As the new biomass owner, Fike said Greenback has committed to donating some land to Gypsum and will continue working toward a broader transaction in the coming months.

In response, Gypsum Town Council members asserted that they also wanted an improved relationship with the owners of the biomass plant.

“I want to make sure that you understand if we have issues, we need to have somewhere to go to get them solved,” Council Member Chris Estes said. For example, Estes noted at times that dust blowing at the site is a problem and Gypsum hasn’t been able to address the situation in the past.

Gypsum Town Manager Jeremy Rietmann said he already has met with Greenbacker representatives to walk around the property and discuss the land-donation issue.

“The property already looks better than it has in years,” said assistant town manager Jim Hancock, also the town engineer.

Gypsum Mayor Steve Carver was blunt about what he wanted from the new owners.

“It’s really simple. We want to have open communications,” Carver said. “We have had nothing but issues with this circus since it started.”

Fike said the new plant executive planned a visit to Gypsum this week. Rietmann added that the Greenbacker manager has already committed to get his hands dirty, literally. He has offered to volunteer with town staff at the Gypsum Cleanup Day refuse-collection site, Rietmann said.