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Canadian energy company to build biomass power station

By Luke Geiver | February 23, 2012

The team at Mustus Energy has been patient during its 5-year quest to develop a 41.5 MW biomass power station in La Crete, Alberta, Canada, but the company will break ground this spring.

It took longer than expected for the Canadian-based clean energy developer to find the appropriate partners to supply the technology and services that offered quality and long-term commitment. But now, Mustus will be installing in its first biomass power plant some of the best technology available today, according to Victoria Coffin, vice president of business development and regulatory affairs.

Shin Nippon Machinery Co. will supply the turbine for the facility, Babcock & Wilcox will supply the boilers, and Lockheed Martin, the global security giant that also designs, builds and operates advanced technology systems, will supply technology procurement and construction services. Mustus Energy used a combination of debt financing, private investment and a $5 million grant from the Canadian government to finance the $165 million plant.

Coffin said the facility will mainly source Aspen tree wood waste from a 50-mile radius, but will also use sawmill waste from the area. “That is part of the idea-to compliment what was available already in the region,” she said. Originally, the planned capacity for the plant was 35 MW, but after improving efficiency, Coffin said they were able to build a larger facility.

“Transporting the biomass fuel is very expensive,” she noted. “The plant size was chosen largely because of the economics of fuel delivery. We chose the optimum combination of maximum power output compared to lowest delivered fuel cost.”

 Coffin said Mustus has made a long-term plan to develop more biomass power facilities, considering Canada uses biomass to supply 6 percent of its power. The land at the La Crete location has already been cleared and the permits are all in place. And, although Coffin was unable to disclose any names, she said the company has also formed a power purchase agreement with a major offtaker.

Once operational, the facility will employ 28 full-time employees, not to mention other indirect jobs related to the harvesting of wood waste.