Court rules in favor of Taylor Biomass Energy

By Anna Simet | December 26, 2012

Three court proceedings challenging several state and local approvals permitting the development and operation of Taylor Biomass’s 21 MW biomass gasification facility in Montgomery, N.Y., have been dismissed.   

 Taylor Biomass Energy began the permitting process in 2006 and has since overcome multiple hurdles—including almost losing a U.S. DOE loan guarantee and troubles securing a long-term feedstock contract—before gaining necessary zoning amendments and permit approvals for the project, which was completed in May 2012.

 Early last year, the Orange County Supreme Court granted two petitions filed by a neighboring property owner, annulling the town board’s environmental review, zoning amendments, plan approvals for the proposed facility, and the solid waste management permit approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

 Taylor Biomass, the Montgomery town board and NYSDEC filed an immediate appeal, and a third petition was filed in Orange County Supreme Court challenging the board’s determination that a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement was not needed to address some project modifications. The end result was a court ruling that confirmed the determinations of the board and NYSDEC, a reversal of the annulled permits and approvals, and a determination that the town board conducted a comprehensive review and correctly applied the law before deciding not to require an SEIS. 

 Taylor Biomass Energy is a spin-off of Taylor Recycling, a firm that was hired by New York City for a recovery project after the destruction of the World Trade Center in 2001. The company, which was the first construction and demolition debris processing company in the U.S., set up and operated two mobile plants to process more than 500,000 tons of debris in nine months. 

The Montgomery plant will be co-located with Taylor Recycling Facility and will expand the recycling facility’s capability to accept wood waste and construction and demolition debris, as well as municipal solid waste. The biomass plant will deploy a unique, indirectly heated gasification process developed by Mark Paisley, Taylor Biomass Energy’s chief technology officer, who has been involved in gasification research for nearly 40 years.

Electricity produced at the plant will be enough to power 23,000 private residences. It is also expected to have $384.4 million economic impact, and provide 82 permanent jobs and 318 temporary construction jobs over the next 18 months.

In a progress update provided to Biomass Magazine, Taylor Biomass President & CEO James Taylor Jr. said the site is cleared and graded, and electric and telephone conduits and a new gas pipeline for the power island warm-up have been installed. Building pads are ready for concrete and steel, a solar gas turbine has been delivered to the site, and a Dresser-Rand steam turbine has been ordered, according to Taylor. “The next major phase of construction will commence upon financial closing with the U.S. DOE Loan Guarantee program, which currently is anticipated for May 1,” he said, adding that the company is in final stage negotiations with several engineering, procurement and construction contractors.