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Iberdrola begins construction on Oregon biomass plant

By Anna Austin | November 10, 2010

As a result of collaboration of state and community leaders, local industry groups, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and more, Iberdrola Renewables Inc. has its required permits in place and has begun construction at its planned 26.8-megawatt biomass cogeneration plant in Lakeview, Ore.

Iberdrola, a dominant wind energy project developer, plans to be producing enough power for 18,000 homes by the fall of 2012.

Located in southern Oregon’s Lake County, the project has been in development for the past several years. It was owned by two other companies before being acquired by Iberdrola, which received a $1.7 million Recovery Act grant to help with costs.

The 55-acre plant site is about 20 miles from the California border next to Collins Pine Co.’s Fremont sawmill. Much of the power plant’s fuel will be logging and mill residuals from the sawmill’s operations. In turn, the plant will provide the sawmill with the equivalent of 2 megawatts of steam to power its operations. In total, the plant will consume about 160,000 bone-dry tons of biomass.

When complete, Lakeview Cogeneration LLC will create 18 full-time jobs at the plant and an estimated 50-plus in the forest.

Electricity generated from the plant will be sold to local utilities, helping to meet the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS). Oregon's RPS requires the largest utilities in Oregon to provide 25 percent of their retail sales of electricity from renewable sources of energy by 2025, smaller utilities 10 percent and the smallest 5 percent.