Voltalia to construct 5.1 MW biomass plant in French Guiana

By Erin Voegele | March 30, 2018

France-based renewable power producer Voltalia has begun construction of a 5.1 MW biomass plant in Cacao, French Guiana. Voltalia designed the facility and will be in charge of its construction, operation and maintenance.

According to Voltalia, the power plant will operate continuously. It will combust wood waste sourced from local forestry operations managed by the National Forestry Office. Feedstock will also be sourced from neighboring sawmills.

The boiler, turbines and other major equipment for the plant will be provided and installed by Boccard and Berkes companies. Construction is expected to take approximately 30 months, with commissioning currently scheduled for 2020.

Voltalia said the plant will benefit from a 25-year contract with a secured tariff, generating EUR 10 million to EUR 15 million of annual energy sales revenues.

Power produced at the plant will be supplied to the public grid and sold at a much lower price than that of the power sold by the diesel power plants currently operating in French Guiana.

A 2017 financial report released by Voltalia indicates the company already operates a 1.7 MW biomass power plant in French Guiana, which generated an estimated 10.6 GWh of electricity last year.

Voltailia said it is taking advantage of that existing Kourou biomass power plant to begin training operators to work at the Cacao plant. The new facility is expected help create up to 105 direct and indirect jobs during construction. The project will also benefit local suppliers in the forestry sector, which currently employs approximately 40 people.