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Wood waste biomass facility breaks ground

The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center has broken ground in Florida, following the fundraising of nearly $500 million for the biomass project.

American Renewables, the company behind the development, plans to gather wood waste left over from tree harvesting from forests within a 75 mile radius surrounding the plant.

This year American Renewables signed an agreement with forest products company Rayonier for the company to supply the plant with logging residue, pre-commercial thinnings and other wood fuel.

This will be used as feedstock to produce 100MW of electricity under a 30-year contract and the facility is scheduled to open in December 2013.

American Renewables faced criticism when it first proposed the plant because opponents believed using wood and trees as a source of fuel could pose environmental problems.

However, the company has ensured that the wood that is to be used will be waste wood that would normally be left on the ground to rot or would be taken to a landfill.

The plant has created more than 200 jobs so far and American Renewables says it should create a further 700 in the long-term.