Sunnyside Port Receives $100K Energy Efficiency Incentive

Port of Sunnyside Commissioners Jim Grubenhoff, Jeff Matson and Arnold Martin accept a check of $100,000 from Benton REA's Community Development and Member Relations Manager Troy Berglund, second from left.

The Port of Sunnyside accepted a $100,000 energy efficiency rebate from Benton REA at its Dec. 4, 2017, commissioner’s meeting. The rebate was granted to the Port for the energy savings gained from the installation of their covered anaerobic lagoon (CAL) expansion.

“This is the single largest rebate check Benton REA has written in the history of its commercial efficiency incentive program,” stated Troy Berglund, community development and member relations manager for Benton REA. “We are excited to further help the Port of Sunnyside in its economic development efforts.”

The CAL expansion doubled the Port’s waste water treatment capacity from 550,000 gallons per day to 1.1 million, thus enabling the expansion of the neighboring Darigold-Sunnyside’s milk processing plant and allowing more capacity for future economic growth.

The Port’s new anaerobic digester is projected to save 4,484,186 kilowatt hours (kWh) and $168,156.98 annually. The savings are due to the CAL’s biological anaerobic treatment process, which uses almost no electricity compared to the doubling of electric aeration equipment that would have been required if the CAL had not been installed.

“The electricity saved was an added benefit from all the growth,” said Jay Hester, executive director of the Port of Sunnyside. The addition of the CAL was necessary for Darigold’s expansion and the addition of 50 family-wage jobs at the plant.

In addition to the energy efficiency rebate, Benton REA helped the Port of Sunnyside secure several grants and loans through both the cooperative and the United States Department of Agriculture to help fund the CAL expansion in 2014.

As of Nov. 30, 2017, the Port has paid back 24 percent of its loans from Benton REA, which the cooperative has placed into a revolving loan fund for other economic development projects in the area. Businesses who are members of Benton REA and are interested in more information about Benton REA’s revolving loan fund should contact the cooperative at 509-786-8265.

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