Spring Biomass Construction Surges

By Anna Simet | March 01, 2013

It’s finally March, meaning spring is just around the corner.

In areas that have been buried under snow and ice for the last several months, that means the weather will soon be suitable for groundbreaking on and continuation of major work on projects.

That said, we are in the thick of putting together the April issue of Biomass Magazine, which is themed spring construction outlook and project development. And let me tell you, you’re in for a treat.

Executive Editor Tim Portz flew down to Gainesville, Fla., to get a first-hand account of construction of the 100-MW Gainesville Renewable Energy Center being built by American Renewables. Fagen Inc. is the general contractor of the massive project, and generously provided Portz with an extensive tour of the bustling construction site, which he documented with countless photos that really demonstrate what an amazing feat building a facility of this caliber is.

The second major project we’re featuring in the April issue is power utility WE Energies’ and papermaker Domtar’s 50-MW biomass cogeneration project in Rothschild, Wis. I was able to obtain perspective from WE and Domtar—what it has been like working together, how the project came to be, development hurdles, benefits to both parties, etc.—and also some insight from general contractor Boldt Construction. I asked Boldt Project Manager Myron Wagner what the most challenging aspect of this particular project has been, and he said that it’s been building this plant at the site of a live, operating paper mill that has to continue business as usual. So needless to say, there has been a lot of meticulous planning and a great deal of maneuvering.

The last article I will mention was written by Biomass Magazine staff writer Chris Hanson, who explores what’s at the root of the perceived pellet boom in Georgia. Hanson delves into state’s biomass supply and the history of its forest industry, its business climate and incentives available, and what Georgia has to offer in terms of infrastructure.

I’m going to keep the remaining articles a mystery for now, but I will tell you that this is an issue you won’t want to miss.