Work begins on 50 MW eastern Texas biomass plant

By Anna Simet | June 28, 2012

Construction has officially begun on a 50 MW biomass power plant planned for eastern Texas.

Located 2.5 miles southwest of Woodville, Texas, the plant is being built by East Texas Electric Cooperative, a nonprofit electric cooperative headquartered in Nacogdoches, Texas. A June 26 groundbreaking ceremony was attended by several supportive state and local officials, including Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and Woodville Mayor Ben Bythewood.

The estimated capital cost of Woodville Renewable Energy is $199.7 million, according to ETEC, or about $4,000 per kilowatt. The utility said it’s building the plant to meet increased power needs in the utility’s service area, and to ensure fewer power outages for cooperative members during severe weather.

As usually is regarding biomass power projects, hauling fuel to the plant is not a logistical issue, as ETEC will be located next to chipping mill NAPCO. It has licensed the mill for a 25-year agreement to provide 100 percent of the wood chips and other wood materials to power the plant.

The project will consist of one stoker boiler and steam turbine generator, as well as associated plant equipment including air quality control systems, fuel storage and handling, cooling tower and switchyard. 

WRE is projected to employ 25 full time employees, each with an average annual compensation of more than $65,000, including benefits. More than 75 personnel will be employed to produce and deliver the fuel chips to the plant on an ongoing basis, according to ETEC.

Construction of the plant is slated for end of 2014.