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Puget Sound Energy signs 17-year biomass energy purchase agreement

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US-based Puget Sound Energy (PSE) has teamed up with Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI) to purchase 17 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy from its mill in Mount Vernon, Washington.

The move to invest in biomass energy marks PSE’s continued commitment to the environment and deep decarbonisation. PSE will work with SPI to use 17MW of energy produced at the company’s co-generation plant at its lumber mill, providing locally-generated renewable biomass energy to its customers.

SPI’s co-generation facility uses wood by-products from its lumber manufacturing process to generate steam that is then used to make electricity to heat kilns to dry lumber. An air pollution controlling device filters out fine particles and other emissions from the burning wood so that what is released into the atmosphere is clean.

“This is another step in our journey to acquire clean sources of energy for our customers,” said David Mills, senior vice-president and chief strategy officer at PSE. “We will continue to work with renewable energy projects to fill our capacity needs.”

Brad Gould, division manager at SPI’s Mount Vernon facility added: “Our crew is proud to be using locally grown, harvested and manufactured wood products to power homes in our own neighbourhoods. This is a partnership that provides both environmental and economic solutions for our community.”

PSE signed a 17-year contract with SPI that starts in 2021 to purchase the excess energy generated after wood waste is burned at SPI’s Burlington Mill. The mill employs more than 200 employees contributing to the $900 million (€791 million) annual economic impact of the forest products industry in Skagit County, Washington.

“Not only are we supporting a local renewable energy product that is located right here in our service area,” added Mills, “but we’re also proud to be supporting local jobs in Skagit County.”