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Bio-energy park, Sirti, city of Spokane receive energy funds

Tue., Oct. 6, 2009, 5:04 p.m.

A bio-energy park near Fishtrap is among the largest Washington recipients of $20 million in federal stimulus money set aside for energy projects. The city of Spokane and Sirti received smaller amounts.

The Barr Regional Bio-Industrial Park was awarded a $500,000 grant and a $1.5 million loan to help finance an anaerobic digester that will convert farm waste and other material into fuel that can drive a turbine that produces electricity.

Besides the digester, the park will contain a composter, and a pond where algae will be grown and converted into fuel.

The project, which could cost $12 million when finished, has received $4 million in other loans and grants.

Groundbreaking occurred in May. When complete, the facility is expected to employ 117.

Spokane, which sought $2 million in grants and loans, received an $850,000 loan.

Spokeswoman Marlene Feist said the city had planned to combine the full amount with matching money to create a $5.5 million fund for improving the energy efficiency of public buildings.

“We’ll just have to think about it differently,” she said.

Sirti Executive Director Kim Zentz said the business incubator had requested $500,000 in grants and loans, but received a $250,000 loan. The intent was to create a second revolving loan fund for 17 companies developing energy-related technology, she said, but the rules may not allow a revolver.

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