Gestamp, Clean Power team up in the NE

By Lisa Gibson | May 31, 2010
Posted July 21, 2010, at 4:38 p.m. CST

New Hampshire-based Clean Power Development LLC is teaming up with Gestamp Biomass, a division of Spain-base Gestamp Renewables, to develop a number of woody biomass combined-heat-and-power (CHP) projects in the Northeast U.S.

The first project will be a 29-megawatt plant in Berlin, N.H., that is expected to be operational in late 2012. The plant will cost an estimated $100 million and is a project Clean Power has been working on since 2008. The plant was originally going to generate 45 megawatts of power, but was downsized after the results of an independent study found there is not enough woody biomass that falls within the company's parameters to support that output in a 30-mile radius of the site. Feedstock will be logging residue and low-grade wood, according to Bill Gabler, Clean Power project manager. "We will be working with a major New Hampshire-based procurement company that may well establish contracts, but will also be able to procure on the market," he said.

The goal of the partnership is to develop 180 MW in the Northeast, which could result in between six and eight plants, all using logging residue and low-grade wood. "With over 80 percent of the region's thermal energy coming from oil and a majority of its electric production coming from natural gas, the Northeast region provides a significant and growing market for thermal and electric renewables," Gabler said. "Then, it is important to note that the region has a substantial availability of biomass to support appropriately sized, high-efficiency biomass projects." The output of the plants will depend on the available resources around their locations and the next one is slated for Winchester, N.H., he added. Permitting on that facility should begin this fall.

All facilities will be CHP plants with a goal of minimum efficiency of 60 percent. No power purchase agreements are in place yet and the destination for the power will be determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the market dynamics at the time the power is marketed, Gabler said.

The agreement covers joint activities in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York and Pennsylvania. Under the agreement, Clean Power will identify and provide due diligence related to existing operational biomass facilities for possible acquisition by Gestamp and will manage a portfolio of selected new biomass energy projects throughout the region, according to Clean Power. Gestamp Biomass will support development, provide project equity and arrange the balance of plant financing for the projects. Among the objectives of the agreement is improving the region's carbon footprint and increasing long-term employment in green energy production.