Kent County partners with Vicinity Energy to operate Waste-to-Energy Facility


February 2, 2023Vicinity Energy, a decarbonization leader with the nation’s most extensive portfolio of district energy systems, will partner with Kent County Department of Public Works to operate the Waste-to-Energy facility in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Vicinity and Kent County have entered into a long-term service agreement that ensures the facility will operate safely and efficiently. The partnership will save Kent County in operating costs annually while reinforcing its commitment to quality service, the environment, and the local workforce.

“For more than 30 years, Waste-to-Energy has been a key part of Kent County’s integrated waste management system, and it allows our community to responsibly and reliably dispose of solid waste while producing local energy and reducing the amount of waste going into landfills,” said Dar Baas, director of the Kent County Department of Public Works. “We’re continuing to invest in the Waste-to-Energy facility, and this new partnership with Vicinity will ensure it operates safely and efficiently for years to come.”

Vicinity has welcomed the existing plant employees to its team and will hire more team members to ensure safe, efficient, and reliable services are delivered to the residents and businesses served by the facility. This partnership marks a critical milestone in Vicinity’s commitment to sustainability and bringing new jobs and services to West Michigan.

“We are proud to serve as the new operator of this critical piece of Kent County’s waste management system and look forward to continuing to work with the community well into the future,” said Kevin Hagerty, deputy CEO and chief operating officer of Vicinity Energy. “In addition to ensuring a smooth transition from the prior operator, our team has been hard at work on providing the most reliable, resilient, and sustainable services possible.”

The Waste-to-Energy facility incinerates non-hazardous solid waste from municipal and commercial operations in Grand Rapids, East Grand Rapids, Grandville, Kentwood, Walker, and Wyoming. Each year, the facility prevents 190,000 tons of waste from going to landfill, generates enough energy to power 11,000 homes, and recovers enough steel to make 3,000 cars.

The Waste-to-Energy facility upholds the highest environmental standards, achieving Michigan’s Clean Corporate Citizen (C3) designation each year since 2006. The facility also meets or exceeds the strictest federal standards set forth by the EPA and other regulatory bodies and employs sophisticated clean-air technologies to achieve superior environmental performance. The plant operates, on average, 90% below permit limits.

“We are thrilled to partner with Kent County and welcome the new members to the Vicinity team in Grand Rapids,” said Jesse Douglas, vice president and general manager of Vicinity’s Grand Rapids operations. “This transition of operations is an exciting step for both the County and Vicinity to bring innovative solutions to the communities we mutually serve.”

Vicinity also owns and operates the heating and cooling facility that provides clean steam to about 10 million square feet of space in downtown Grand Rapids. Vicinity’s district energy system maintains between 90-95% efficiency year-round. All Grand Rapids customers connected to district energy have a 38% lower annual carbon footprint than if they were to self-generate heat, with future improvements intended to offer renewable, carbon-free energy solutions as part of Vicinity’s Clean Energy Future plan.

About Kent County Department of Public Works
The Kent County Department of Public Works provides municipal solid waste disposal services to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste through various facilities and programs, including Waste-to-Energy, Recycling, and Education Center, North Kent Transfer Station, and South Kent Landfill.

About Vicinity Energy

Vicinity Energy is a clean energy company that owns and operates an extensive portfolio of district energy systems across the United States. Vicinity produces and distributes reliable, clean steam, hot water, and chilled water to over 250 million square feet of building space nationwide. Vicinity continuously invests in its infrastructure and the latest technologies to accelerate the decarbonization of commercial and institutional buildings in city centers. Vicinity is committed to achieving net zero carbon across its portfolio by 2050. To learn more, visit or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Media Contacts
Kent County Department of Public Works

Stephen Faber
Communications and Marketing Manager
c: 616.821.8006

Vicinity Energy
Sara DeMille
Marketing and Communications