Areva, Duke Energy to build biomass power plants

By Erin Voegele
Web exclusive posted Sept. 26, 2008 at 10:59 a.m. CST

Areva, a Bethesda, Md.-based energy products and services vendor, and Charlotte, N.C.-based Duke Energy announced the formation of a joint venture Sept. 24. Adage, the joint venture company, will be headquartered in Chadds Ford, Pa., and facilitate the development of biomass power plants in the United States.

Areva will design and build the plants. Duke Energy Generation Services, a commercial power business unit of Duke Energy, will manage the facilities' operations. Areva will also negotiate power purchase agreements and fuel contracts, as well as secure suitable sites for the plants.

The facilities will run on wood waste and are expected to generate an average of 50 megawatts each, which is enough electricity to power approximately 40,000 homes. According to Jarret Adams, a spokesman for Areva, the plants will burn waste wood materials to heat water that turns a turbine to create electricity. Areva has built more than 100 similar facilities around the world.

Duke Energy's spokesman Rick Rhodes said no plant locations have been named at this time, but Adage expects to have the first facility under construction by 2010.

"We're really excited about the prospects for this business," Adams said. "We believe that the U.S. biomass sector really presents a tremendous opportunity for us."