Garbage processing plant to hire eight

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Great River Energy is hiring eight people at its garbage processing plant in Elk River, as it has ramped up operations in recent years.

Garbage is brought to GRE's processing plant in Elk River, where it is sorted and shredded into a fuel that is later burned to produce electricity.
Garbage is brought to GRE’s processing plant in Elk River, where it is sorted and shredded into a fuel that is later burned to produce electricity.

The full-time positions will be open through Dec. 27. Details are available at

The new hires will bring the total number of employees at the plant to 47, according to Tim Steinbeck, Elk River Resource Recovery Project manager.

The plant processes garbage into a fuel that is burned to produce electricity at GRE’s power plant in Elk River.

GRE has been burning processed garbage from the Elk River plant for more than 20 years. GRE purchased the processing plant at 10700 165th Ave. from RRT in 2010.

At the time of the purchase, Steinbeck said the amount of garbage coming into the processing plant was only about half of what was needed to fuel the power plant.

Since then, he said they have contracted for more garbage with the support of Sherburne and Anoka haulers and also with the support of Hennepin County. Today, the plant is approaching being at about 95 percent of its full load goal. It is on track to process about 280,000 tons of trash in 2013 from Sherburne, Anoka and Hennepin counties. Approximately 300,000 tons a year needs to be processed to keep the power plant full, Steinbeck said.

“Our short-term goal is to fuel our power plant, and we’re near meeting that goal,” he said.

The power plant, located at 17845 Highway 10, produces enough electricity to power 25,000 homes.

Study looks at GRE’s economic impact

In another GRE employment-related matter, a University of Minnesota Duluth study has found that GRE’s core operations provide an economic boost to communities where the electric cooperative operates.

The results show that GRE:

• Supported approximately 4,000 jobs in each study year (direct, indirect and induced).

• Generated more than $3 billion in economic impact over the three-year study period.

• Provided more than $239 million in local, state and federal taxes over the three-year study period.

“As a power supplier to 28 electric cooperatives in Minnesota, serving more than 1.7 million people, we knew our operations likely had a strong economic impact to our region, but we wanted to quantify the extent of that impact,” said David Saggau, GRE president and CEO.

GRE’s corporate headquarters are in Maple Grove and outpost facilities are located throughout the state. The cooperative owns 12 power plants in Minnesota and North Dakota, along with more than 4,500 miles of electric transmission lines in both states.

GRE has also adopted a “buy local” philosophy in recent years.

The economic impact study is posted at, where companies can also submit information on supplies or services they offer that Great River Energy may be able to use.