Virginia biomass power plant moves forward

By Lisa Gibson | February 04, 2011

Developers of a 50-megawatt biomass power plant in Virginia’s southern town of South Boston have approval to begin preliminary construction work on the $175 million project.

The plant, developed jointly by Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) and Michigan-based energy services company Novi Energy, will use between 250,000 and 550,000 tons per year of forest slash. The plant will operate in dispatch mode, depending on the economics of PJM Interconnection, a regional transmission organization that coordinates the movement of wholesale electricity to 13 states and the District of Columbia. “If the economics are better, we’ll be producing more,” said Mike Dailey, vice president of business development for NOVEC. The fuel requirement can be found within a 75-mile radius of the plant, he added.

The facility will bring 300 to 400 new jobs to the area during construction, as well as 40 full-time positions once operational in 2013, according to NOVEC. A public hearing held before the Virginia State Corporation Commission recently drew a number of supporters excited about the job possibilities in an area with an unemployment rate of more than 11 percent. “It was a great outpouring of support,” Dailey said. In addition, the plant will not be visible from adjoining roadways, as it will be tucked away in 104 acres of woods, according to the developers.

“This project will create a unique tie among the members of NOVEC, the residents of South Boston and those of Halifax County—a unique model that has potential for the rest of the commonwealth,” Dailey said. “Right now it looks like a win-win-win for everyone.”


2 Responses

  1. Erich J. Knight



    The greater service to the Coalmining & Power industry is Syn-Gas & bio-oils for co-combustion while conserving the Biomass carbon char for soil reclamation. Reclamation may prove a high value for Biochar and should be integrated nation wide. Out west The Mountain Studies Institute, has done some small-scale biochar trials on mine lands in the San Juan Mountains, but Flux Farm’s Hope Mine Project is the first time an entire mine has been taken on. Last October, a mix of that biochar, compost and native grass seedlings mix was applied to waste rock slopes over 30 degrees (and up to 45 degrees in some places, which was spread by rock climbers). “The Hope Mine was the first time the technology had ever been scaled to meet the reclamation need for the entire mine,”. The project proved that the biochar technique is simpler than conventional reclamation techniques And much cheaper; New hope for old mines I know some work going on in Wise county VA, studies by John Todd, "Beyond Coal", a quite beautiful, self financing, whole ecology vision for remediation. I don't see how any authority could turn down a grant for such concomitant benefits even while the full ecological services are being restored. "Beyond Coal: A Resilient New Economy for Appalachia" by John Todd, Samir Doshi, and Anthony McInnis. The in situ remediation of a vast variety of toxic agents in soils and sediments. Biochar Sorption of Contaminants; Dr. Lima's work; Specialized Characterization Methods for Biochar And at USDA; The Ultimate Trash To Treasure: *ARS Research Turns Poultry Waste into Toxin-grabbing Char Recent work by C. Steiner, at U of GA, showing a 52% reduction of NH3 loss when char is used as a composting accelerator. This will have profound value added consequences for the commercial composting industry by reduction of their GHG emissions and the sale of compost as a nitrogen fertilizer. Since we have filled the air , filling the seas to full, Soil is the Only Beneficial place left. Carbon to the Soil, the only ubiquitous and economic place to put it. Thanks for your efforts. Erich Erich J. Knight Chairman; Markets and Business Committee 2010 US BiocharConference, at Iowa State University EcoTechnologies Group Technical Adviser Shenandoah Gardens (Owner) 1047 Dave Barry Rd. McGaheysville, VA. 22840 540 289 9750 Co-Administrator, Biochar Data base & Discussion list TP-REPP

  2. Biomassguy



    It would be more realistic to say this project would have access to considerable wood, due to the closure of IP's Paper Mill in Franklin, VA. Using logging slash, alone, generally doesn't occur, once feedstock begins to flow from upstrean sources. Competing with the smallwood users, like the pulp & paper guys, is inevitable. Still, it's a terrific option for a struggling forest products sector.


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