Madison County has vowed to provide water to a planned power plant off Hwy. 72 in Colbert. Now, leaders must look for a way to secure funding for an estimated $4.5 million water line project, which will bring water from Elberton.

Georgia Renewable Power (GRP) is constructing a power plant that will burn chipped wood to generate electricity for Georgia Power. The facility is at the site of the old Trus Joist wood factory. GRP expects to have the facility functional by June 2019 at the latest. It will need an estimated one million gallons of water a day. County leaders expect the business to bring in about $1 million in property tax revenues per year for the county. There will also be revenues from water sales to the business, though no water rates have been established with GRP.

“The water bill from the power plant will help take care of financing the project,” said industrial development authority executive director Marvin White.

White said the line from Elberton would run about $4.5 million, adding that a line from Harrison in northern Madison County to the facility is also being considered as a backup source, which would cost about $3 million. The industrial authority will contact Georgia Environmental Finance Authority (GEFA), the OneGeorgia Authority and the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) to seek a loan for the project. GRP needs water in place by October 2018.

White said a line from Elberton would bring in about two-to-three million gallons a day and would serve more than the power plant.

While the industrial authority discussed water for the power plant at its Monday meeting, the group also discussed financial arrangements between the industrial authority and the Chamber of Commerce. The industrial authority voted a couple of months to ago to suspend all payments from the IDA to the Chamber as of Jan. 1 unless a new contract between the two entities could be approved before the end of the year. IDA members have said they want to know exactly what they’re getting from the Chamber for the money allocated. The IDA postponed that suspension of pay for 60 days Monday for further review of a proposed contract.

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