[NEWS] Gainesville, FL Utility and Biomass Officials Agree on $750M Buyout
– by Andrew Caplan, March 22, 2017, Gainesville Sun
After months of back-and-forth negotiations, Gainesville Regional Utilities and biomass plant officials have reached an agreement regarding the city’s acquisition of the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center.
A signed memorandum of understanding (MOU), which bears GRU General Manager Ed Bielarski and biomass plant President Jim Gordon’s signatures, shows the two sides have officially agreed on a $750 million price tag for the GREC facility, located at 11201 NW 13th St.
Although the MOU is non-binding, its execution is a pivotal step in the process of the city buying out the biomass plant and a multi-billion dollar contract.
“If a definitive agreement can be reached, it will be transformational for the city,” Bielarski said.
The city commission has until April 21 to approve the non-binding MOU before moving forward with a potential deal. Once approved, GREC will supply the first drafted contract within 21 days.
The two sides will then have up to four months to agree on a final deal and up to seven months to close, according to the MOU.
GRU, a city-owned utility, plans to fund the purchase through tax-exempt utility bonds at a 3.03 percent interest rate. The city has the option to shred the deal if interest rates rise above 3.53 percent.