Biomass plant to benefit from USFS contract
November 28, 2012
By United States Forestry Service
November 28, 2012, Eagle, CO – The U.S. Forest Service awarded a total of $13.4 million to two Colorado companies and one of those stewardship contracts has positive implications for a local biomass plant.
West Range Reclamation of Hotchkiss, Colo., was awarded the contract for the White River Long Term Stewardship with a bid of $8.66 million. The contract focuses on the removal of tree species susceptible to insect and disease infestations, including lodgepole pine, subalpine fir, Douglas-fir, Engelmann spruce, aspen and ponderosa pine.
West Range has partnered with Eagle Valley Clean Energy to develop an environmentally sound use for the dead and small-diameter trees – known as woody biomass – that will be removed during fuels reduction and forest health treatments. Eagle Valley Clean Energy is currently planning an 11.5 megawatt woody biomass-fueled power plant in Gypsum, Colo. The electricity generated from the plant will be supplied to Holy Cross Energy, servicing 8,000 to 10,000 homes in Colorado from Parachute to Vail and Glenwood Springs to Aspen. Heat from the plant will also support an adjacent wallboard manufacturing facility. In October, USDA’s Rural Utilities Service announced a $40 million loan guarantee to help finance the plant.
“The continued stability of the 10-year project will allow West Range to provide well-paying, steady, year-round work for our current employees and the ability to hire more skilled operators,” said Pam Motley of West Range Reclamation. “We also intend to do our part to help strengthen local economies by purchasing products and services such as fuel, food, housing, tools, parts, supplies, rentals and repair services from local businesses.”
Eagle Valley Clean Energy estimates that the woody biomass electricity plant will further support 41 permanent jobs and 107 construction jobs for the region.
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