More than 9 million tons of garbage has not ended up in a landfill, thanks to a unique project that started 25 years ago along the Mississippi River’s eastern bank in Elk River, MN. On Sept. 3, Great River Energy celebrated 25 years of successful operation of the Elk River Resource Recovery Project (ERRRP). Over the course of a year, the project avoids sending up to 300,000 tons of municipal solid waste to the landfill while converting that waste into renewable electricity and recovering recyclable materials. The ERRRP consists of the Elk River Resource Processing Plant, which processes municipal solid waste into fuel for the Elk River Energy Recovery Station, which is a renewable waste-to-energy power plant that operates around the clock“The use of municipal solid waste is an important component of our diversified energy mix at Great River Energy. It allows us to generate electricity from a renewable resource while minimizing the waste that goes to a landfill. This benefits both our members and the environment,” said Rick Lancaster, Great River Energy vice president of generation.

Great River Energy hosted a program and tours today for public officials and current and retired employees to celebrate the project’s milestone. “This day is a tribute to all the men and women who have helped operate the Elk River Resource Recovery Project in an efficient and reliable manner over the past 25 years. It’s also recognition of the partnerships we have built over the years with the local communities to utilize municipal solid waste in a beneficial way and to keep it out of landfills,” said Tim Steinbeck, Great River Energy’s manager of the Elk River Resource Recovery Project. ERRRP contributes $25 million annually to the local economy, 29 megawatts of renewable energy and 90 full- time jobs.

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