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Public hearings set for three SC biomass plants

By Anna Austin | June 01, 2011

In June, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control staff will hold separate public question and answer sessions and hearings for three proposed biomass power projects in Allendale, Kershaw and Dorchester counties.

Southeast Renewable Energy has been granted draft air construction permits for all of the facilities, each of which will generate 17.5 megawatts of electricity and be fueled with wood waste.

SRE estimates each plant to cost $50 million and has 30-year power purchase agreements with Santee Cooper for all three plants.

Last month, SRE announced it had entered into an agreement with Dorchester County to utilize virgin wood residue, such as tree limbs and residue from woody right-of-way clearings, for a portion of the plant’s biomass fuel source. “We are excited about the partnership with the county in this win-win opportunity,” said Raine Cotton, president and CEO of SRE. “Utilizing the county’s wood residue is not only sustainable but it will also save them money and create local jobs.” 

The Dorchester County Council believes it will save the county about $300,000 each year, and SRE has projected about 25 full-time jobs to be created over the next five years as a result of the plant being built. The company expects the Dorchester plant to be completed in late 2012.

For more information about the public hearings, visit http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/baq/publicnotice.asp.