La Crosse Co. nearing solid waste energy contract extension

La Crosse County is closing in on a deal to continue a source of renewable energy.

The county recently wrapped up negotiations with Xcel Energy on an extension of their contract to convert solid waste into electricity.

The two sides have worked together since the 1980s to take garbage from the county landfill to Xcel’s facility on French Island, where it’s burned and converted into power.

County Solid Waste Operations Director Henry Koch says the new deal took more than a year to negotiate but benefits everyone involved, including the residents of this area.

“The bonus to us is that the energy we produced, the electricity, isn’t going to Chicago or some far-off place,” said Koch. “That’s locally being used in our community, and so we benefit from having a renewable source of energy. We don’t have to have as much fossil fuel used in our regional system to produce electricity.”

The contract extension between the county and Xcel will run through at least 2030, with options to further extend the deal to 2040.

It still needs to be approved by the County Board at a meeting next week.