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If all goes as planned, within a few years, the town of Lane will be transformed into a thriving city complete with new homes, a manufacturing plant, trade centers while achieving net-zero waste disposal and generating its own power.

The idea has been on the table since 2016, when CETS Waste-to-Energy CEO Vincent White introduced the proposal to several stakeholders. Since then, the process has been in motion and on January 15, the Lane Community Development Corporation hosted an update focusing on Lane as the pilot program.

The eco-village will take place in two phases with construction and development occurring in 2020-21, followed by business development beginning in 2022. Total project cost of phase one is estimated to be $300 million. Total cost of the project over 10 years is $1.5 billion.

One of the most impressive features of the village will be its waste-to-energy system. White said the mobile gasification system connected to a cogeneration system could convert up to 50 tons of organic waste per day and could create green power for the village as well as produce product to sell.

The goal is to create a circular economy of production and trade to support governments in cutting their carbon emissions through its waste. White said he presented the plan to Williamsburg County Council in June 2019 to help them stabilize the waste management budget.

Businesses outside of Lane will also benefit. A study completed by Chmura Economics and Analytics indicates the total economic impact of phase one of two is estimated to be $455 million while supporting 1,424 jobs per year within the Williamsburg region. The region consists of Williamsburg, Clarendon, Florence, Berkeley, Charleston, Georgetown, Horry, Sumter, Marion, and Lee counties.

“This is not an overnight thing. This is a serious transition in cutting the carbon footprint as well as stabilizing and creating a more sustainable lifestyle for the citizens of this county,” said White. “That will allow us to stabilize the region for the next 25 years.”

White said funding would come in the way of a $300 million green bond. He said his company is contracted with the town of Lane for $50 million per year over 25 years. “That $50 million for 25 years becomes the collateral backing the bond, because the project becomes the collateral.” He will present his proposal of Lane as the pilot program to the UN during the Global Compact Leaders Summit in June 2020.