Valent BioSciences LLC recently announced that it is undertaking two major environmental initiatives at its biorational manufacturing facility in Osage. They include a new prairie restoration project and solar field, both situated on existing Valent BioSciences land, which will provide a variety of benefits to the local community.
For the prairie restoration project, Valent BioSciences is restoring 34 acres of highly diverse native prairie on its land in Mitchell County, which will be accessible to the public. This project will help establish and support a diverse native habitat for birds, butterflies, insects, reptiles and small wildlife. The prairie will also become a rest stop for monarch butterflies that migrate to and from Mexico each year.
According to a press release, at maturation, the prairie will sequester approximately 170 tons of carbon dioxide annually, helping mitigate the effects of greenhouse gas in the environment. Another environmental benefit is that it will need little maintenance and won’t require the application of fertilizers or pesticides.
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The prairie will be available for local community and school use. A walking path will make it easy for visitors to traverse the prairie and interact with nature.
In conjunction with the project, Valent BioSciences applied for and received a grant for prairie seed from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service.
A 1.5-megawatt alternating current (AC) solar field will be constructed on 12 acres of Valent BioSciences land adjacent to the prairie restoration project in conjunction with its partners, OneEnergy Renewables and Heartland Power Cooperative. This field will include approximately 3,700 bifacial solar panels that produce power from both sides of the panel and also track the sun from east to west. Once the solar field is operational, the Osage facility will receive the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) generated by the solar field. This project ensures that renewable energy will help power the Valent BioSciences facility, according to the press release.
The solar field is expected to produce about 3.4 million kilowatt hours of solar-generated electricity annually, which is anticipated to provide approximately eight percent of the Osage facility’s total annual electricity usage. This amount of electricity generated is enough to power approximately 425 average-sized homes annually.
“We are proud to support these environmental initiatives, which align with our focus on sustainability and enhancing the quality of life in our local communities,” said Paul Kelley, Valent BioSciences’ Vice President of Supply Chain and Manufacturing. “Much work has also been going on behind the scenes to make these initiatives a reality, and we want to thank OneEnergy Renewables, the Heartland Power Cooperative, the City of Osage, the Mitchell County Conservation Board, and Pheasants Forever for their valuable contributions and assistance.”
“OneEnergy is excited to work with Valent BioSciences and Heartland Power Cooperative on this exceptional project,” said Tobin Booth, OneEnergy’s CEO. “We look forward to working with the community and county to permit the project this winter, and then to construct the site starting in the spring.”
“We are thankful for the opportunity to partner with Valent BioSciences and OneEnergy on this project,” said Heartland Power Cooperative CEO Jon Leerar. “By working together, Heartland Power Cooperative and OneEnergy are able to provide knowledge and experience in the energy industry to help Valent BioSciences reach their sustainability goals.”
The 46-acre parcel of land that will be the home for the prairie and solar field was removed from row crop production during the fall and the 34-acre prairie site was planted on Dec. 1 with a pollinator mix that includes high-quality annual and perennial wildflowers. Construction on the solar field is intended to start in April 2022, with an anticipated completion date in September 2022. Valent BioSciences has also planted more than 200 trees of different species around its Osage facility during the past two years.
Headquartered in Libertyville, Ill., Valent BioSciences is a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd., and is the worldwide leader in the development, manufacturing, and commercialization of biorational products with sales in 95 countries around the world. For additional information, visit the company’s website at www.valentbiosciences.com.
OneEnergy Renewables develops and delivers community and utility-scale solar energy facilities across the United States. OneEnergy’s mission is to make clean energy the number one electricity choice for consumers and utilities. For more information, please visit: www.oneenergyrenewables.com.
Heartland Power Cooperative is a member-owned rural electric distribution cooperative with offices in Thompson and St. Ansgar. Heartland Power serves nearly 5,300 homes, farms, businesses, and industry with over 1,900 miles of electric power lines across 12 counties in Northern Iowa and Southern Minnesota. For more information visit its website at www.heartlandpower.com.