‘Green electricity’ production plant seeks Clinton location

Chris Berendt Staff Writer

November 15, 2013

A Michigan-based industry that digests organic waste to produce renewable electricity is seeking a production facility to be located in Clinton, according to a permit application submitted to the Clinton-Sampson Planning and Development.

The applicant is NOVI Carolina Digester LLC, which is described in its conditional use application as a “green electricity production facility.” NOVI is requesting a permit to establish a facility on a 40-acre tract of land off of Industrial Drive, just north of Schindler Corporation. The property at the Industrial Park is owned by the Clinton 100 Committee.

NOVI Energy is managing partner and operator of the Fremont Community Digester (FCD), a 100,000-ton per year complete mix anaerobic digester located in Fremont, Mich. FCD digests organic wastes into bio-methane, which fuels the plant’s engine-generators to generate 3 megawatts of renewable electricity.

The Fremont, Mich., plant is the first commercial-scale anaerobic digester in the United States. Clinton-Sampson Planning director Mary Rose said a similar plant is proposed as part of the local permit.

“Organic feedstock will be received and digested as an anaerobic digester to produce biogas,” the application states. “The biogas will be combusted in an internal combustion engine to produce electricity.”

The conditional use request will be considered by the Clinton Planning and Zoning Board at its upcoming meeting, set for 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18, in the City Hall Auditorium. The board will review the request and make a recommendation for the City Council to consider at its Dec. 17 meeting.

“The Planning Board is just reviewing it and making a recommendation,” said Rose. “The public hearing will be held at the Council’s Dec. 17 meeting.”

The Fremont, Mich., plant is operated as a base load plant, with its capacity, energy and renewable energy credits contracted to the local utility under a 20-year contract that has been approved by the state’s Public Service Commission. According to NOVI Energy, FCD “utilizes a mature European technology design that has been proven effective for processing organic materials in an environmentally friendly manner.”

Operating its own fleet of delivery trucks, the Fremont plant picks up from customers and transports feedstock from throughout the region, doing it via signed feedstock supply contracts with major regional food processors and agricultural businesses. Feedstock is delivered to pre-storage tanks and then mixed into the digesters.

According to NOVI, the Michigan plant also has a “Certified Destruction Program,” in which it is able to take whole pallets of packaged goods containing products such as milk, yogurt, ice cream, syrups and flavoring agents, shred and recycle the plastic and cardboard products and consume the waste liquids in its digestion process.

Regardless of the Clinton Planning Board’s recommendation, the City Council can approve or deny the conditional use permit. If it chooses to approve it, the Council can assign additional stipulations or modify existing ones, as part of its permit approval, Rose noted.

For more information about NOVI Energy, the company can be visited on the web at

Chris Berendt can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 121 or via email at