Oregon’s Biomass Oasis

A small Oregon town is the site for two biomass power proposals.
By Lisa Gibson | July 28, 2011

A second biomass power proposal has emerged in Klamath Falls, Ore., following the announcement that Iberdrola Renewables will amend its power plant proposal for the community from natural gas to biomass feedstock.

Klamath Falls Bioenergy has completed its application for site certification (ASC) with the Oregon Department of Energy for the Klamath Falls Bioenergy Facility, according to the company and its parent Northwest Energy Systems Co. LLC. “This is a major step forward,” says Bob Jones, CEO of Klamath Falls Bioenergy. “There’s more work to do, but this is a major milestone on the road to approval.”
The 37-megawatt power plant will burn woody biomass on a 106-acre site southwest of the 20,000-person city of Klamath Falls on Highway 66, according to Klamath Falls Bioenergy. The facility will consume about 960 tons of wood per day, sourced through a contract with local landowner JWTR LLC. “They are a significant landowner and have several hundred thousand acres,” says Richard Milne, public affairs spokesperson for the project.

Subsequent steps in the development process include a draft proposed order by the state DOE containing its findings and recommendations to the state’s Energy Facility Siting Council, which will make the final decision on project approval. Depending on the time needed to make those decisions and the length of any possible appeals, construction could begin late this year, according to Klamath Falls Bioenergy.

Iberdrola’s Klamath Falls-area biomass plant will also burn woody material to produce 35 megawatts of power, but has no feedstock contracts in place. The company already has a natural gas combined-heat-and-power plant in the area and will build its biomass facility next to it. No timeline for construction or operation is in place yet for the facility. 

—Lisa Gibson