Mar 24, 2009

DOE Approval to Switch Coal Plant to Biomass Power

The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved a request from Georgia Power Company to convert its Plant Mitchell Unit 3 from a coal-fired power plant to a biomass power plant. Located near Albany, Georgia, the facility will be able to produce 96 megawatts of power once the conversion is completed in June 2012, making it one of the largest biomass power plants in the United States. It will draw on surplus wood fuel from suppliers within a 100-mile radius of the power plant.

Biomass power is also making headway in other parts of the country. In late February, Xcel Energy filed for approval to convert the remaining coal-fired unit at its Bay Front Power Plant to biomass by adding a biomass gasification facility to the facility, which is located in Ashland, Wisconsin. The utility already burns wood in two of the three boilers at the power plant, and the conversion will make it the largest biomass power plant in the Midwest. If approved, construction will start next year, with commercial operation anticipated in late 2012. Meanwhile, the California Energy Commission (CEC) has initiated its review of two 53.4-megawatt solar thermal power plants that will each include a 40-megawatt biomass power plant to supplement the solar power. If approved, San Joaquin Solar 1 and 2 will be built just east of Coalinga in Fresno County, and the plants should start operating in early 2011. See Xcel Energy's Web page for the Bay Front Biomass Gasification Project, and see the CEC press release and licensing case for the solar thermal-biomass hybrid project.

Read full at EERE - U.S. Department of Energy