GKEDC generates revenues to implement its mission by operating the Green Knight Energy Center in Plainfield Township, PA. In many ways GKEDC operates as any other business – each year GKEDC incurs substantial expenses to operate the generating plant and generates revenues by selling that energy to the regional power grid. The difference between GKEDC and a for-profit business is that whereas a for-profit business generates profits for its owners and/or shareholders, the “profits” generated by GKEDC are re-invested in the local community through grants, scholarships, and economic and community development projects.
Here's an overview of how it all works. Homes and businesses in our communities generate tons of waste material and bundle it for pick-up. Waste Management's fleet of trucks and laborers collect the curbside trash. Trucks haul the trash to Grand Central Sanitary Landfill in Plainfield Township for processing. As the waste material decays, it naturally generates methane gas. A complex collection system gathers this flammable gas and safely transports it to the Energy Center. At the plant, the methane gas is burned as fuel within three turbine-driven generators that can generate nearly ten megawatts of electric power, enough electricity to supply several thousand homes 24 hours a day. This electricity is sold as green, renewable power to the regional power grid and the “profits” are used to support community activities such as scholarships, community grants, and economic development projects. Even when the landfill closes, methane gas will still be captured and burned for many years.
The GKEDC charter calls for providing help to organizations located and operating solely within the geographic boundaries of the Pen Argyl Area School District. To the degree possible, construction of the Energy Center was undertaken using local firms and labor. Prospectively, the GKEDC does everything possible to benefit local labor.
GKEDC is proud to serve the community of which it is a part. We hope to be around for many years, and would welcome the opportunity to work with you to improve the quality of life in the Slate Belt.
In the summer of 1998, the Pen Argyl Area Concerned Citizens were approached by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Waste Management with a proposal for the community to develop a landfill gas-to-energy plant. Methane gas, a by-product of decomposing trash, was being flared into the atmosphere. An energy plant would be able to harness this untapped natural resource, and turn it into dollars that could be reinvested in the community.
A task force of local citizens evaluated the feasibility of this proposal and, once agreed, the Green Knight Economic Development Corporation (GKEDC) was formed in March 1999. The GKEDC, a non-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, is made up of nine Board of Directors who are citizens of the boroughs of Wind Gap and Pen Argyl and Plainfield Township. Directors are volunteers and serve without monetary compensation.
All of GKEDC’s Board members reside in the Pen Argyl School District and serve on the Board as volunteers. No board member receives any monetary compensation for service on the Board and the organization has no paid administrative staff. The current GKEDC Board of Directors includes:
Carlton Snyder (President) – A resident of Wind Gap Borough, Carlton is a retired radio and electronics technician. He has served as the President of the GKEDC Board since the organization was founded in 1999. In his spare time, Carlton raced micro-sprint cars for over two decades. In addition to his work with the GKEDC, he also enjoys traveling the country with his wife in their RV.
Robert Cornman (Vice-President) – Robert is Plainfield Township resident who recently retired as a Director from Flowserve, one of the world's largest manufacturers of pumps, valves and seals with over 19,000 employees in over 60 countries. Robert recently finished a term as a member of the Plainfield Township Planning Commission and is currently serving on Plainfield Township’s Environmental Advisory Council.
Peter Albanese (Treasurer) – Pete is one of the principal owners of Wind Gap Electric, an electrical contracting company who works primarily on commercial, industrial and institutional projects throughout the Lehigh Valley, Monroe County, and northern New Jersey. Pete lives in Plainfield Township.
Steve Hurni (Secretary) – Steve is President of Diversified Insurance Services in Plainfield Township. He is also a Board member of the Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Plainfield Township Board of Supervisors since in 2012.
John Cuono (Member) – John has run Cuono’s Barber Shop in Pen Argyl since in 1963. He is a resident of the Borough of Pen Argyl and he also serves as the Chairman of the Pen Argyl Sewer Authority.
James Policelli (Member) – Jim is a Plainfield Township resident and registered professional engineer. He specializes in energy and environmental engineering including compliance, permit applications, emission calculations and remedial design and serves on the Energy & Environment Committee of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce. He has been a ski patroller since 1973 and is an EMT and CPR instructor.
Larry Feller (Member) – Larry is a Formulating Chemist and retired President of Coulston Products, Inc. He is the Senior Consultant with SCI Consulting and lives in Pen Argyl. He has also been active in community groups including the Boy Scouts of America - Minsi Trail Council, the Advisory Board of the Slate Belt YMCA, and the Weona Park Board and Master Planning Committee.
John Goffredo (Member) – A resident of Plainfield Township, John is the President and one of the owners of Nu Cor Management Inc., a construction management and general contracting firm based in Wind Gap, PA. John has over 30 years of experience in the construction industry, having worked on projects of all sizes throughout the Slate Belt, Lehigh Valley, and Poconos.
GKEDC works in collaboration with many community partners who help GKEDC implement its mission including:
- Northampton County
- Borough of Wind Gap
- Borough of Pen Argyl
- Plainfield Township
- Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation
- Northampton County Industrial Development Authority
- Slate Belt Chamber of Commerce
- Slate Belt Rising
GKEDC is proud to have had the opportunity to be involved with several award-winning projects over the years.
Project 1: Green Knight Energy Center (Landfill Gas-to-Energy Plant)
Honor 1: US Environmental Protection Agency Landfill Methane Outreach Program Project of the Year (2000)
Project 2: Slate Belt Industrial Center
Honor 2: Pennsylvania Governor’s Award for Excellence (2003)
Project 3: Overall Contributions to Regional Community and Economic Development
Honor 3: Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation’s Economic Development Partner of the Year (2013)
Project 4: Little Bushkill Creek Restoration Plan
Honor 4: Lehigh Valley Planning Commission’s Environmental Project of the Year (2014) (Note: GKEDC received this honor as part of a consortium that included Plainfield Township, Bushkill Stream Conservancy, Coldwater Heritage, PA DEP, ELM Group, URS Corp., and Aquatic Resource Consulting)
Green Knight puts a jolt into Slate Belt's economy. Lehigh Valley Business, January 6, 2014
Slate Belt Industrial Center/Techo-Bloc
Blockmaker seeks to buy industrial center Company attracted to location of Plainfield Township site. The Morning Call, July 23, 2003
Slate Belt YMCA
Green Knight Industrial Park/JH Beers
Heat Recovery Center
- Wind Gap area group gets grant for industrial park, 280 jobs. The Morning Call, May 25, 2017
- Plan to bring 280 jobs to infamous Slate Belt tire dump site gets boost. lehighvalleylive.com, May 25, 2017
- Construction at industrial park could start this summer. Lehigh Valley Business, May 26, 2017
- Manufacturing companies sought for future industrial park off Route 33. Lehigh Valley Business, June 27, 2016
- Northampton County projects net $1.2 million in casino grants. lehighvalleylive.com, May 28, 2015