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Sharon Ethanol plant taking steps forward

---Financing project starts after air permits granted

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published June 25, 2007, 1:15 p.m.)

Global Renewable announced recently that it has received the final air quality and construction permits from the state for its ethanol plant proposed for the village of Sharon.

The company expects to break ground this fall after it receives the remainder of the financing needed to construct the $195 million dollar plant. It has preliminary approvals for $76.7 million in financing already.

Global Renewable Director Jeffery P. Knight said the remaining hurdles include securing additional financing and local permits, such as building permits, deep-well permits, stormwater retention permits and several others.

"There are a number of smaller permits (to get) that are just as important," Knight said. "Most of them are fairly standard."

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources air quality permit was the most important for Global Renewable to start getting loans, Knight said.

"We are excited to begin the final phase of our private equity and senior debt fundraising with the assurance that we have cleared the last major regulatory hurdle to the plant's construction," Knight said in a press release.

The Sharon Board of Trustees, in April, approved the sale of $60 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bonds for the project, and the village's planning commission approved more than $9 million in tax-increment financing for street, rail, gas, electric and other infrastructure improvements needed for the plant's construction.

Global Renewable is also finalizing a $7.6 million low-interest loan through Alliant Energy's Shared Savings program, which rewards energy-efficient design and operation of commercial facilities.

The plant will do business under the name Sharon Ethanol.

"The strong support of the village of Sharon and the state of Wisconsin has been critical to moving the Sharon Ethanol project forward," Knight said in the release. "Wisconsin has created a first-rate climate for the growth of its renewable energy industry."

When completed, the plant will annually produce more than 105 million gallons of ethanol fuel from more than 38 million bushels corn grown within a 50-mile radius of the facility. About 55 new jobs will be created once the plant is finished, possibly by early 2009.

"We're still hoping to get a very aggressive construction schedule together to get production by January 2009," Knight said.

The plant is to be built on the north side of Highway 67 on the western edge of the village limits.

IF YOU GO
What: Global Renewable is holding a Public Information Meeting
Where: Sharon Village Hall, 125 Plain St.
When: Wednesday, July 18, 5-8 p.m.

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