Nature Energy Roberts' proposed biogas facility

After months of negotiating, a spirited public hearing and answering numerous questions from residents, Nature Energy, the Denmark based biogas company, has withdrawn its application for a conditional use permit (CUP) to build a manure digester in the Village of Roberts.

In a letter dated Oct. 7, addressed to the Village of Roberts Board of Trustees, President Willard Moeri and Village Saff, Alexis Donnelly, CEO of NE’s North American operations, acknowledged the “time and consideration” the village had dedicated to reviewing its application for a CUP but asked that “all Nature Energy-related matters” be removed from the board’s agenda for its Oct. 10, meeting and “any other forthcoming meetings until further notice.”

Glick framed Nature Energy’s withdrawal from the process as taking time to “evaluate the best way to respond to the board’s concerns” regarding its application and to “determine the best path forward for developing its biogas project in Roberts, Wisconsin.” 

On Sept. 7, the Village’s Plan Commission held a special meeting to take up a number of items concerning the Nature Energy project including its location within the Village’s Wellhead Protection District. 

Kapaun made a motion to deny Nature Energy’s CUP application based on its location within the district. The commission was minus one member that night and the vote ended in a 3-3 tie. The Commission voted unanimously to advance the application to the full board without a recommendation for its consideration at its Oct. 10 meeting.

On Oct. 7, Nature Energy formally withdrew its application for a CUP in the letter addressed to the Village Board.

Three Nature Energy items initially listed on the board's agenda for their Oct. 10 meeting were removed from the agenda. 

According to board Trustee Katy Kapaun, Nature Energy is still in communication with the village; however, the future of the project is in question.

“I don’t think that they have any intention of pursuing the plant in the industrial park. I would say that. I just don’t think the support is there. They’ve put in significant effort and gone to a lot of time and expense to get as far as they did. I really don’t know if they’re going to abandon it all together or try a Hail Mary and see if something else will float. I don’t know,” Kapaun said. 

The derailment of NE’s application marks the third failed attempt to establish a manure digester biogas facility in St. Croix County since NE’s, back then Xergi’s, first attempt in 2018 in the Town of Pleasant Valley.

 

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