APPA News

by Peter Maloney
APPA
Posted January 10, 2019

Heartland Consumers Power District played a key role in the recent decision by Balaton, Minn.-based trū Shrimp to build a new shrimp aquaculture facility in Madison, S.D.

The 50-acre site will include a nine acre, 40-foot-high structure capable of producing eight million pounds of shrimp a year.

The facility – what trū Shrimp calls a “harbor” – will include a hatchery, grow-out tanks and a processing facility.

trū Shrimp CEO Michael Ziebell says the company uses “harbor” to distinguish its aquaculture practices, which he says raise shrimp in a near natural and disease-free environment.

trū Shrimp expects to begin construction on the facility this summer in Madison’s Lakeview Industrial Park with the exact timeline pending the completion of permitting and financing. The industrial park is an Opportunity Zone, which is eligible for preferential tax treatment under Internal Revenue Service rules.

Outgoing South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard told local media that the trū Shrimp facility has the potential for 120 jobs and tens of millions of dollars of economic impact.

The Lake Area Improvement Corporation, Madison’s local economic development office, provided a $6.5 million low-interest loan to help attract trū Shrimp to Madison. Heartland partnered with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development to provide funding for the loan, Casey Crabtree, Heartland’s director of economic development, said.

“As a wholesale power supplier, Heartland is always looking for ways to work with our customers to promote development,” Crabtree added. “Being a public power community offers unique advantages we were able to capitalize on to bring trū Shrimp to Madison.”

In addition to being an Opportunity Zone, the Lakeview Industrial Park that will be home to the trū Shrimp facility is also part of the South Dakota Certified Ready Site program that provides potential businesses with detailed information about potential sites such as soil testing, utility access and environmental information.

Having a “shovel ready” site was one of the determining factors in attracting trū Shrimp, Crabtree said. trū Shrimp was also being courted by Luverne, Minn., about 75 miles from Madison, and had been identified as the site for trū Shrimp’s first facility. “However, there are open items related to the Luverne site that need to be addressed before trū Shrimp can proceed,” the company said in a press release.

Ziebell told the local press trū Shrimp picked Madison for several reasons, including access to the Lewis and Clark Reservoir and the available workforce in the region. He cited regulatory hurdles in Minnesota and said switching to Madison allowed the company to stick to its timeline of starting construction this summer.

In addition to the current loan to the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, Heartland had earlier helped pave the way for economic development by providing a $1.3 million loan about a decade ago for infrastructure improvements in the industrial park.

Heartland’s economic development loan program is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Agriculture with matching funds from Heartland.

Heartland also offers a variety of other incentives to assist with development in their customer communities.

Heartland has two classes of incentives, depending on the size of the load. Its growth incentive offers a rebate of free electricity for a year that is spread over three years. Its Energy ONE program, for customers with a load of 1 MW or more, offers energy-only rates with no demand charges for three years.

Crabtree says trū Shrimp’s total load is expected to be about 13 MW. Currently the city of Madison has a load of about 20 or 21 MW.

trū Shrimp will have the largest land parcel in the Lakeview Industrial Park, which already is home to about a dozen businesses, Crabtree said. “There is still room for more,” he said.

In an interview with the American Public Power Association last year, Crabtree detailed how the Energy ONE program has helped to spur economic development.