N.M. town approves memorandum of understanding for biomass plant

By Erin Voegele | September 14, 2012

Clovis, N.M could soon be home to a new biomass power plant. The Clovis City Commission recently approved a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City of Clovis and Vancouver, British Columbia-based Small Scale Power LLC. Under the MOU, the power producer could leave or purchase between 25 and 40 acres of land near the city’s landfill, where it is hoping to build a biomass power plant.

According to information released by the city commission, Small Scale Power intends to submit a proposal to Xcel Energy in response to a Request for Proposals that was recently issued. If approved, Small Scale Power would construct a facility near the landfill. The plant would take in demolition debris and sludge as feedstock. Information published by the city commission states that agreements for the lease or purchase of the land, as well as terms and conditions associated with feedstock use, would be negotiated at a later date.

The MOU specifies that the City of Clovis currently owns the land where the plant would be located. Currently, the city leases the property out for farming, grazing and other agricultural purpose. The land also currently contains ground water monitoring and remediation wells. In addition, the agreement notes that Small Scale Power wants to acquire water for cooling from either the existing remediation wells, or those that are established in the future. It would also consider using wastewater from the city’s treatment plant.

Under the MOU, if the land is leased, the term cannot be for less than 21 years. The city has also agreed to allow for diversion of construction and demolition waste and sludge from the wastewater treatment plant to the site, and formulate the most economical way to designate and deliver that material to the plant. The City of Clovis would also sell either effluent from the wastewater treatment facility or water from remediation wells to the plant.

The MOU is effective for one year, but will terminate if Small Scale Power does not receive an approval and contract for the facility from Xcel Energy. Small Scale Power could not be reached for further comment on the project.