Commission hopeful feds step up with funding for Plasco

Whether or not a $100 million gasification plant can be built without the federal government’s help will be decided by the end of May.

Plasco Energy Group is waiting to hear if they will receive a $17 million grant from the federal government to help build the facility.

The proposed Plasco plant is expected to be located in Red Deer County.

“I’m optimistic but I’m worried that we’re falling behind,” said City Councillor Lynne Mulder who also serves as vice-chair of the Waste Management Commission. “This has been a project that has been going on for a very long time and I’m worried that there might be a credibility issue for us in terms of what the public thinks.”

Through the process, known as gasification, garbage is broken down through heat into its molecular parts – a synthetic gas, water and a rock-hard substance usable in several ways from commercial construction to insulation to gravel.

The synthetic gas then drives turbines and produces electricity.

Eighty per cent of that electricity can be sold into the local grid.

“I believe in this solution very much,” said Mulder. “And I’m looking forward to moving ahead. I’m trying to be really positive.”

She added the commission has yet to see whether the impending federal election will play a role in whether or not the grant is approved.

“It could be a good thing for us as it might be an election issue, or it could be put on the backburner,” said Mulder.

She added if the federal government doesn’t come forward with the grant money and it is determined by Plasco that they can’t move ahead with the project, the commission will look at other options.

“We will look at other alternatives because we all believe that something like this is really needed,” said Mulder.