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Amersco biomass plant gets final approval

Renewable energy company Amersco has received a Final Acceptance Certificate from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Operations Office and can now complete construction on its new biomass cogeneration facility.

Once completed, the site is expected to produce $944 million of energy, water, operations and maintenance savings over nearly 20 years. The project will replace a coal powerhouse and oil-fired boilers, reducing carbon emissions by 100,000 tonnes ever year.

The site will use forest residue and woodchips taken from the local area and is expected to create about 800 jobs during the construction phase and 25 fulltime positions when the project is complete.

The 20MW plant, which is being built on 34 acres in South Carolina, was funded by the DOE, which contributed $795 million (€610 million) towards the project back in 2009.

The funding was provided under the ‘Super ESPC’ programme and is the largest single-source of performance-based renewable energy savings underway in the federal government under this particular incentive.

The plant is due to come into operation this year and the power generated will also provide energy for 30% of the site’s operations. Already the project has produced 3 million KW hours of power during a series of tests.

Keith Derrington, executive vice president and general manager of Federal Operations at Ameresco says: ‘This project exemplifies how renewable power can meet the electrical demands of the nation’s largest federal facilities while reducing energy and water costs through energy efficient technology.  Most importantly, this project has been implemented through private-sector investment at no direct cost to taxpayers and demonstrates how private sector solutions can meet public sector needs.’