Richland Center Renewable Energy (RCRE) is a joint effort of Foremost Farms USA and Schreiber Foods, two of Richland Center’s major employers, to solve a significant problem involving wastewater treatment in the city of Richland Center. Foremost Farms USA is a farmer-owned cooperative which produces mozzarella cheese and value-added whey products to customers nationwide. Schreiber Foods is the world’s largest employee-owned dairy company which processes cheese and is a leader in processing cream cheese, natural cheese, high-end specialty cheese, and yogurt.
The allocation of NMTC enabled RCRE to secure funding to construct a new state-of-the-art wastewater treatment facility in Richland Center, Wisconsin. RCRE will provide a solution to a significant problem involving wastewater treatment in the city. With an overburdened existing system in the city that presents numerous challenges including volume, functionality, odor, traffic, disposal, cost, and the ability to eventually increase capacity, the proposed RCRE wastewater treatment facility plans to address these challenges faced by the RCRE companies continued use of the city’s existing facility. RCRE will alleviate burden on the city’s current facility and allow the RCRE companies to run at higher capacity, thereby realizing not only retention of employee base, but also potential job growth.
The project will enable the RCRE companies’ production facilities in Richland Center to separate normal strength wastewater from high strength wastewater and send it to RCRE via pipelines. RCRE will have both anaerobic and aerobic treatment capabilities with two 850 kW electrical generators. The RCRE facility will generate up to 1.7 megawatts (MW) of renewable electricity annually which will be sold to the power grid under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with WPPI Energy, a consortium of municipal owned utilities which includes Richland Center Utilities. The amount of electricity generated is enough to power approximately 1,200 homes annually.