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Small, distributed biomass CHP is way to go

Aug. 5, 2010, Boston, MA – A biomass energy approach that stresses multiple small biomass power plants using local, sustainable fuel supplies would make these projects more appealing to communities and more beneficial to local economies.


August 5, 2010
By Clean Power Development LLC

Aug. 5,
2010, Boston, MA – A biomass energy approach that stresses multiple small
generation plants scaled to make use of local fuel supplies on a sustainable
basis would make biomass projects more appealing to communities and more
beneficial to local economies over the long haul. This was suggested by Bill
Gabler, project director of Clean Power Development LLC, during his
presentation at the Northeast Biomass Conference and Expo in Boston,
Massachusetts.

"Communities
want the jobs, and they want the power from biomass generation," noted
Gabler. "But residents are justifiably worried about the impact on their
quality of life. They see a potential threat to air quality, the water, and
local forests. And they worry about the noise and heavy truck traffic
associated with large generation plants."

The
answer, said Gabler, is an approach that Clean Power calls distributed
generation. This is a network of smaller plants that are scaled appropriately
to minimize environmental impact and to operate mostly on fuel available
locally and harvested on a sustainable basis. Whenever possible, projects
should seek to maximize their efficiency by looking for opportunities to
provide heat, steam, or hot water for use in commercial activities such as in
mills or greenhouses.

The
distributed generation model creates more jobs per megawatt of capacity than a
single large plant because there are multiple facilities spread within a region
and a focus on local fuel sources, said Gabler. Moreover, smaller plants can
more easily be designed to harmonize with a community's architectural character
and surroundings.

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"By
integrating smaller biomass projects into the community, instead of just
plopping down a huge plant, we create a sustainable system, provide jobs, and
safeguard the environment, while, most importantly, not disturbing the
character and quality of life of the community," said Gabler. "This
is the approach that will help realize the significant potential of biomass as
an alternative energy source."

As an
example of Clean Power's approach, Gabler cited the firm's planned 29-MW
combined heat and power biomass facility in Berlin, New Hampshire, which is
fully permitted to begin construction. The plant, which will directly employ 23
people and hundreds more in construction and associated commercial activities,
will be located on a greenfield site away from the town's center. The plant
will use 340,000 tons/year of biomass fuel on a long-term sustainable basis
within a 30-mile transport radius. The exterior of the plant is designed to
resemble a farm with a large red barn and two silos, fitting into the northern
New Hampshire landscape.

In line
with Clean Power's model of selling both thermal and electrical energy to
nearby or co-located industries, the planned Berlin facility is only
three-quarters of a mile from the local Fraser/Gorham paper mill, a ready
customer for the biomass plant's steam. Moreover, the Berlin plan offers a
cost-effective thermal source for a citywide district heating system in Berlin.

On July
19, 2010, Concord, New Hampshire-based Clean Power Development announced a
cooperation agreement with Gestamp Biomass, a division of Gestamp Renewables,
to develop biomass projects in the six New England states of Maine, New
Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, plus New York
and Pennsylvania.


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