Florida potential location of two biomass power plants

By Lisa Gibson
Posted June 16, 2009

Florida may soon become home to two biomass power plants-Port St. Joe, Fla., is the future site of Biomass Gas & Electric LLC's 45-megawatt biomass power plant that will run on woody biomass and energy crops; ADAGE LLC has recently secured the rights to a 215-acre site in Hamilton County for the first in a series of 50-megawatt wood waste-fired power plants.

The plant in Port St. Joe will be dubbed the Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center and will use gasification technology. The site was chosen because of its welcoming spirit of business development, geographic situation and proximity to the biomass necessary for plant operation, according to BG&E. The feedstock will come from a combination of local wood providers, a variety of farmers and BG&E crops, said Keith McDermott, BG&E media representative. The company hopes to have almost 50 percent of its feedstock under its control within 24 months of plant completion, he added. The plant will create almost 200 jobs in construction and 25-30 permanent positions, according to the company.

BG&E plans to break ground for the project at the outset of first quarter 2010 and hopes to be operational 18-24 months later, according to McDermott. The plant will generate enough electricity to power 25,000 homes and the company has a purchase power agreement with Progress Energy of Florida to deliver the electricity to its customers.

The proposed Hamilton County plant, about 80 miles west of Jacksonville, would create about 400 jobs during construction, along with 125 facility and fuel-related jobs during operation, according to the company. ADAGE, a joint venture owned by affiliates of AREVA SA and Duke Energy Company, is in negotiations with JEA, an electric utility in the Jacksonville area, for the potential purchase of the power generated at the plant. The company also is in discussions with The Langdale Company for its supply of waste wood.

More work needs to be done before construction can begin, including obtaining final permit approvals, entering into binding power purchase and fuel supply agreements, receiving state and local incentives and consummating final financing arrangements, according to ADAGE. Upon completion, the plant would supply enough power for about 40,000 households.