Florida potential location of two biomass power plants

By Lisa Gibson
Florida may soon become home to two biomass power plants-Port St. Joe is the intended site for Biomass Gas & Electric LLC's 45-megawatt biomass power plant that will run on woody biomass and energy crops; and ADAGE LLC has recently secured the rights to a 215-acre site in Hamilton County for the first in a series of 50-megawatt wood waste-fired power plants.

The plant in Port St. Joe will be dubbed the Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center and will use gasification technology. The site was chosen because of its welcoming business development spirit, geographic situation and proximity to the biomass necessary for plant operation, according to BG&E. The feedstock will come from a combination of local wood providers, farmers and BG&E crops, said Keith McDermott, BG&E media representative. The company hopes to have almost 50 percent of the feedstock under its control within 24 months of plant completion, he added. The plant will create almost 200 jobs in construction and 25 to 30 permanent positions, according to the company.

BG&E plans to break ground in the first quarter of 2010 and hopes to be operational 18 to 24 months later, according to McDermott. The plant will generate enough electricity to power 25,000 homes and the company has a purchase power agreement with Progress Energy of Florida to deliver the electricity to its customers.

The proposed Hamilton County plant, about 80 miles west of Jacksonville, would create about 400 jobs during construction, along with 125 facility and fuel-related jobs during operation, according to the company. ADAGE, a joint venture owned by affiliates of AREVA SA and Duke Energy Co., is negotiating with JEA, an electric utility in the Jacksonville area, for the potential purchase of the power generated at the plant. The company is also in discussions with The Langdale Co. for its supply of waste wood.

Before construction can begin, the company must obtain final permit approvals, enter into binding power purchase and fuel supply agreements, receive state and local incentives and consummate final financing arrangements, according to ADAGE. Upon completion, the plant would supply enough power for about 40,000 households.