This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

June 07, 2006

Wood-Burning Power Plants Planned for Four States

Photo of a power plant with large piles of wood chips in the foreground.

This 21-megawatt wood-fired power plant in the San Francisco Bay Area is representative of the plants now planned or under construction in four states.
Credit: Andrew Carlin, Tracy Operators

Projects are now planned or underway for wood-burning power plants in California, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and New York. In California, San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) has signed a contract to buy 20 megawatts of power from Bull Moose Energy LLC starting in 2008. Bull Moose Energy plans to build a facility in southern San Diego County that will gasify tree trimmings and other biomass waste and convert it into electricity.

In Minnesota, the public utilities of two small cities—Virginia and Hibbing—are working together to add wood-fired boilers to each of their power facilities, which also provide district heating to their cities. Under the name of the Laurentian Energy Authority, the two utilities hold a contract to sell 35 megawatts of biomass power to Xcel Energy. Construction is underway, and the boilers should start providing steam to the cities' power plants by the end of the year. The utilities plan to start by using wood waste, but are developing tree farms that will provide a dedicated energy crop for the power plants. See the SDG&E press release and the Web sites for the Hibbing and Virginia Public Utility Commissions.

In New York, Laidlaw Energy Group, Inc. has completed the financing for a 7-megawatt wood-fired power plant that will also supply heat to a lumber drying business. The project involves the conversion of an existing power plant that is currently fueled with natural gas. Meanwhile, the Public Service Company of New Hampshire (PSNH) has nearly completed its Northern Wood Power Project in Portsmouth. The project involves the replacement of a coal-fired, 50-megawatt boiler with a wood-fired boiler. See the Laidlaw Energy Group press release (PDF 80 KB) and PSNH's Northern Wood Power Project Web site. Download Adobe Reader.