Georgia's largest biomass power plant under development

By Lisa Gibson | August 15, 2011

A 56-megawatt biomass power plant slated for operation in October 2012 will be Georgia’s largest, located on an industrial site in southeast Laurens County near Dublin.

The developer, Green Power Solutions LLC, is a joint venture between hardwood production company Beasley Forest Products LLC and grading and specialty service contractor Land Care Services LLC. The project has received approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission and is currently undergoing engineering and preliminary construction work.

A 20-year power purchase agreement is being finalized with Georgia Power, according to Green Power, and the plant will also satisfy all the steam requirements for a nearby paper mill. The plant will use up to 1.2 million tons annually of local woody biomass including bark and chips.

“By tapping into woody biomass to produce electricity, Georgia Power is both continuing to diversify its expanding renewable portfolio throughout the state and doing what’s good for the environment,” said Jaime Hockin, Georgia Power’s renewable and green strategy manager. The utility already has a 20-year agreement for power from woody biomass with Yellow Pine Energy Co. LLC in Fort Gaines, Ga., and a 15-year contract for biomass power from Greenway Renewable Power LLC near Franklin, Ga.

Georgia Power is also in the process of converting its 164 MW coal-fired Plant Mitchell power station to a 96 MW, 100 percent biomass-fired station, but has been held up with regulations such as the Maximum Achievable Control Technology rules, which encompass emission standards for major source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers and process heaters; area source industrial, commercial and institutional boilers; commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators; and sewage sludge incinerators. They also include a definition of solid waste. While the rules are officially published to the Federal Register, a stay has been placed on the standards pertaining to major source boilers and commercial and industrial solid waste incinerators.

Green Power’s new plant will create up to 150 construction jobs for the area, 55 permanent jobs, and support over 200 permanent logging and forestry positions.