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Together, the city's food and beverage industry generates $99.4 million in state and local taxes annually, which could expand to include an additional $20 million in local revenue if the companies were able to expand.

Alverde said if the wastewater plant upgrades were in place to support expansion, those 11 businesses could add 307 more jobs.

"If they're able to expand by another 307 jobs, they could have an additional $309 million impact," Alverde said.

Energizing the city

Petaluma Public Works Director Dan St. John explained that the biofuel project would create a "closed-loop" system in the city — from the collection of waste, to the production of compressed natural gas, to the fueling of city buses and waste hauler trucks.

The project addresses climate change and the city's sustainability goals by replacing 170,000 gallons of diesel per year, the current amount used by the city's eight buses and 15 waste hauling trucks, with compressed natural gas.

The upgrades are scheduled in two stages. The first phase will include paying for biofuel production and a compressed natural gas fueling station. The second phase will incorporate an additional anaerobic digester and further facility modifications to allow the processing of high strength wastewater.

The total project budget is $13 million, of which the city will provide $10 million in matching funds with the CEC grant of $3 million. Phase 1 construction is slated to take place during the last half of 2015, and Phase 2 construction is scheduled to run into early 2017.

(Contact Allison Jarrell at allison.jarrell@arguscourier.com)