Iberdrola's natural gas plant proposal amended to biomass

By Lisa Gibson | June 13, 2011

A proposed natural gas power plant in Klamath Falls, Ore., will instead be a 35-megawatt biomass-fired power plant supplying power to the grid.

Developer Iberdrola Renewables will put its biomass plant on the same site it had proposed and permitted for a natural gas plant, immediately next to its existing 500 MW natural gas combined-heat-and-power plant, according to Paul Copleman, communications manager for Iberdrola. “We are amending our existing permits from a natural gas facility to an approximately 35 MW biomass project because we need to preserve the value of these assets that will expire soon,” he said. “We think this site is the optimal location due to its distance from neighbors and proximity to existing industrial sites and existing switchyards. Siting the plant next to our existing plants will allow us to take advantage of the experienced operations team we have in Klamath Falls.”

While no fuel supply agreements are in place for the plant, Copleman said he expects feedstock will come from surrounding forestland and from willing partners. No timelines or cost estimate have been determined yet, either.

The new plant will be strictly a power-producing facility, as its neighboring natural gas plant supplies enough steam for a nearby wood products manufacturing plant, Copleman said. Iberdrola also has a 26.8 MW biomass project in Lakeview, Ore., that will use 160,000 bone-dry tons of logging and mill residue from a nearby sawmill and will also provide steam for that mill’s operations. The plant is expected to be operational in 2012.