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Biomass Power Developers are Busy Generating Jobs

In some areas of the country, people are finally starting to realize the potential for biomass plants to create jobs. I say this because of all the news of project developers starting construction, breaking ground or just announcing their projects.
By Rona Johnson | October 07, 2011

In some areas of the country, people are finally starting to realize the potential for biomass plants to create jobs. I say this because of all the news of project developers getting the green light to start construction and others breaking ground, or just announcing their projects.

Most recently, Rentech Inc.’s Northwest Renewable Energy Center in Port St. Joe, Fla., was approved by the City Commission. The $225 million plant will produce 55 megawatts of electricity from 930 tons of woody biomass a day. The plant is expected to create 200 construction jobs and about 85 direct and indirect jobs once it is up and running.

Also in Florida, construction has begun on American Renewables’ 100-megawatt Gainesville Renewable Energy Center in Gainesville, Fla. The plant will use 1 million tons of woody biomass a year sourced from within a 75-mile radius to produce enough power for 70,000 homes. During construction, the plant will create about 400 jobs and once operational will require about 40 full-time employees and is expected to generate about 700 jobs in the area, mostly related to feedstock procurement.

In Berlin, N.H., Cate Street Capital held a ground breaking for its $275 million biomass power plant, Burgess BioPower, which is expected to create 400 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs at the plant, and others in the local logging and forestry-related industries. The 75 megawatt plant will burn about 750,000 tons of wood per year.

Although it’s still in the development phase, a 60-megawatt biomass power plant planned for Fort Meade Fla., has the potential to create 350 construction jobs, 35 permanent jobs in the plant and 85 jobs associated with growing and transporting the eucalyptus feedstock to the plant. Plant developer U.S. EcoGen Polk LLC has secured a 29.5 year power purchase agreement and plan to begin construction on the $200 million facility early next year.

Looks like the biomass industry will be off to a great start next year, and just keep in mind these are just the projects that I’ve come across in the past two weeks and I also narrowed it down to just projects in the U.S.

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