California utility buys Iberdrola's biomass energy

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Oct. 31, 2008 at 9:42 a.m. CST

Iberdrola Renewables recently announced that the Sacramento Municipal Utility District in California has purchased the total output from a 55 megawatt biomass cogeneration plant currently under construction at a Tacoma, Wash., pulp and paper mill. The biomass plant, considered to be the region's largest biomass energy project, is owned by Simpson Tacoma Kraft Co.

Iberdrola Renewables will manage delivery of the power to California, which is expected to begin in July 2009. The company is considered the world's leading provider of wind power in operation globally and has more than 600 megawatts of clean gas-fired generation and more than 50 BCF of gas storage in the United States and Canada.

The facility will use a combined heat and power process that uses waste wood products to generate steam used to produce electricity and power Simpson's manufacturing process. Specific feedstocks will include sawmill and paper-mill byproducts, wood-building demolition waste, and debris from logging.

In addition, the company may also ‘mine' old lumber mill landfill sites to recycle wood waste that was buried years ago, said Dave McEntee, Simpson's energy and environment manager.

According to Steve Sorey, SMUD's manager of energy trading and contracts, the renewable electricity produced by the co-generation facility will help the utility reach its goal of meeting 23 percent of customers' needs with renewable sources by 2011.

SMUD, which is the nation's sixth largest customer-owned utility, provides low-cost, reliable electricity for to Sacramento County and a small portion of Placer County. SMUD is recognized as a leader and award winner for its innovative energy efficiency programs, renewable power technologies and sustainable solutions for a healthier environment.