CleanBay Renewables gained approval from the Sussex County for a $60 million plant near Georgetown that will convert chicken waste into electricity.
The proposal had been previously approved by the Planning Commission.
The site will produce fivemegawatts of electricity that will contribute to Delaware Electric Cooperative’s existing power grid – enough to power approximately 3,500 homes.
CleanBay will also remove phosphorous from the chicken litter, making a small crystallized fertilizer that will be sold to farmers in the Midwest where the nutrient is needed on fields. The remaining product will be available to area farmers to use as a soil amendment for their fields.
The plant will create more than 15 new full-time jobs, with construction getting underway next year.
CleanBay’s first facility inWestover, MD is under construction and slated to open in 2019.
The company, based in Princess Anne, MD, continues to evaluate other locations inDelaware,Maryland, andVirginia, with the goal of five sites that would serve the Delmarva poultry industry.
Consideration of the Sussex site had been delayed earlier this year due to various concerns that have come from county residents have become more skeptical of the poultry industry and its environmental efforts.
A few neighbors complained about the project in a hearing, claiming it was too close to their properties. The site is an industrial area, but not an industrial park.
Also cited by critics were traffic issues, although traffic studies showed only minor effects. CleanBay agreed to changes aimed at dealing with concerns of neighbors.
A letter regarding the plant estimated that 12 tractor trailers a day of poultry waste would come to the site.
Gas from the process will fire up four generators that will feed power into the grid. A Delaware Electric representative stated that the project will aid in the reliability of the grid in the area.
The poultry industry has been working to reduce past practices, such as spreading waste on fields. The practices have been blamed for high nutrient levels in the inland bays and waterways
No chicken litter will be stored on the site under the conditions for approval and deliveries will be limited to a dozen a day.
The site is also requiredto have a farm-like appearance.