ALPENA – A new 19-mile natural gas line connecting an area near Wolsey to Alpena will provide residents and businesses with an affordable and efficient energy source for generations to come.
The project, which began last July, is funded primarily by Link Snacks Inc., makers of Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, the largest employer in Jerauld County.
The first phase of construction was completed in December when the line was connected to a substation at the company’s Alpena plant. NorthWestern Energy, the project contractor, will begin extending the gas main into Alpena in the spring, with natural gas likely becoming available to the public by summer.
“We are proud to invest in the infrastructure and betterment of the Alpena community and to play an essential role in bringing an efficient, cleaner-burning and more affordable energy source to its citizens,” said Troy Link, president of Link Snacks Inc.
“Not only will the completion of the natural gas line give the greater Alpena area another tool for sustained economic development and growth, but it will also allow for continued expansion of Jack Link’s Alpena plant,” he said.
In addition, Link Snacks Inc. is undergoing an expansion project in its Alpena-based production facility. The overall expansion is expected to create about 57 project-based, pre-development and construction jobs, as well as allow the company to create 75 new, full-time jobs in its facility by the end of 2017.
The expansion will also preserve the approximately 800 existing, full-time jobs at the facility.
Along with the natural gas line’s economic benefits, the project may also have a positive environmental impact, said Thomas Myers, corporate manager of sustainability for Link Snacks Inc.
“A readily available natural gas source will reduce the carbon footprint created by area commerce in several ways,” he said. “First, natural gas is a cleaner fuel source and its use will reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases by an estimated 35 percent.
“Second, because the gas is served via a pipeline, the four-inch steel gas main will eliminate the need for road hauling to transport fuels such as liquid propane, even further reducing Alpena’s effect on the environment,” Myers said.
The pipeline may also provide much-welcomed relief to local pocket books. According to Myers, natural gas currently costs about two thirds less than liquid propane while at the same time being approximately 8.5 percent more efficient.
For the complete article see the 01-17-2013 issue.
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