Alliance opens propane terminal
Facility can store 500,000 gallons
By Angie Landsverk
Alliance Energy Services is ready to begin operating its propane terminal in Waupaca.
“This terminal makes sense from a supply standpoint,” said Jason Doyle, the company’s president.
The company offered tours of its new facility on Friday, Oct. 13.
The terminal is located at 226 Wendt Drive and is on Canadian National Railway’s direct route.
That is one of the reasons why the Kansas City, Missouri based company chose the site.
“This site is a strategic well-thought place for a rail facility,” said Mike Summers, the company’s director of marketing.
He describes it as a “prime place” for a rail terminal.
Alliance Energy Services wanted a place to store propane, particularly one which could serve rural areas.
“We talked to all our clients in the area and said if we built a rail propane storage facility here, would you commit to some gallons. It was an overwhelming yes,” Summers said.
There are nine, 60,000-gallon storage tanks on the site.
That translates into 500,000 gallons of tank storage on the site, Doyle said.
In addition, the site has about another 500,000 gallons of rail car storage, he said.
Doyle said propane has to be transported by rail or pipeline into Wisconsin.
Canadian National will brings cars to the site three times a week, he said.
“We can unload six rail cars at a time and can load two trucks at a time,” Doyle said.
Alliance Energy Services is a wholesale propane marketer.
“We work on the supply and logistics between the producers and the retail marketing,” he said.
In business 14 years, many of those who work for company have 20-plus years in the industry, Doyle said.
The company has 22 employees, including one in Wisconsin.
“This area is where our president got his start,” Summers said. “We have clients we’ve worked with over 15 years. This area was his foundation.”
The project is in memory of Mike Turner.
“He was a sales representative and business development representative. He founded this project and passed away this past year in a motorcycle accident,” Summers said. “Everyone knew him and loved him. He had been talking about this site, this area in Wisconsin for propane supply.”
Turner died before construction began.
“He got it all lined up. We wanted to see is through,” Summers said.
Energys USA, which is located at 1987 Spindt Drive, built the plant.
“With Darrel (Massman, of Energys USA) being across the street, he builds these plants. He told us about the site,” Doyle said. “Initially, they will run it.”
Alliance Energy Services also built a terminal in Minnesota within the past few years.
That one opened in November 2014.
Doyle said the company’s latest project gets propane in Wisconsin for a variety of heating needs.
That includes for agricultural, commercial, industrial and residential.
Both he and Summers referred to the winter of 2013-14, when at one point, trucks were bringing propane to the state from Texas.
“As an industry, we are much better equipped than we were in 2013,” Doyle said.
Several things impacted that season’s propane supply.
“The two years before that, the winters were mild,” Summers said.
As a result, many people did not have their propane tanks filled as high the summer prior to the winter of 2013-14.
That fall, there was also a large crop dry in the Midwest, Summers explained.
“That sucked up a lot of propane. Then it was an early winter, which never went away,” he said.
He said they cannot predict whether there will be the need for a crop dry.
It depends on the size of the harvest and whether it is wet.
One way farmers dry their crops is by using big propane heaters, Summers said.
That happened in the fall of 2013.
“Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota got hit hard,” he said. “We couldn’t get propane here. It was a logistics issue.”
The company’s new terminal in Waupaca is good for this part of the state, he said.
“A lot of people don’t realize it is hard to build or find storage,” Summers said.
A lot of the supply for this new terminal is already on its way from Canada.
Doyle said his company has a close relationship with the producers, wholesalers and retail propane companies.
“Our job is between the producers and retailers,” he said. “We work closely together to make sure the supply line is working.”