NOVEC biomass plant successfully generates electricity in test

By NOVI Energy | September 12, 2013

Northern Virginia Electric Co-op and NOVI Energy announce that the NOVEC Energy Production, Halifax County Biomass plant that the two companies have been working on together near South Boston, Va., generated its first electricity and connected to the PJM regional electric transmission grid on Sept. 11, 2013, at 11:11 a.m. during testing. The companies anticipate that pre-commercial-operation testing and inspection of plant systems will continue for several more weeks.

The more than $170 million NEPHCB generation station will generate up to 49.9 MW of renewable electricity for NOVEC customers. It is located on a 104-acre site in the Halifax County Industrial Park in southern Virginia. NOVI Energy developed and is overseeing construction of the plant for plant owner NOVEC.

“We’ve been working on this project for three years,” said Mike Dailey, NOVEC vice president of energy and business development. “This successful synchronization with the power grid marks a major milestone in the development of the station and now sets the stage for commercial operation.”  

The plant will use waste wood leftover from logging operations in Southside Virginia as fuel. The wood fuel, chopped into small wood chips, will burn inside the boiler to create steam that will turn turbines and generate electricity.  

“NOVI Energy had a vision that a waste-wood-fueled renewable power plant was possible in South Boston, and now it is a reality,” said Anand Gangadharan, president of NOVI Energy. “This state-of-the-art facility will be a reliable power production asset for Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative.”  

Gangadharan said the plant will use reclaimed water from the local water authority for plant cooling water. As a result, it will not discharge any water into the Dan River during normal operation. The plant will also recycle leftover wood ash. 

Dailey noted that the project has helped the Southside Virginia economy by employing as many as 500 workers during construction. He said approximately 26 full-time employees are operating the plant during testing and will continue to run it once it goes into full operation