Texas biomass power plant moving forward

By Anna Austin | March 09, 2011

A 50-megawatt woody biomass power plant planned near Woodville in eastern Texas has received permission from the board of the East Texas Electric Cooperative to move forward with development.

ETEC, which is building the Woodville Renewable Power Project, is a nonprofit electric generating and transmission cooperative headquartered in Nacogdoches, Texas. It is made up of 10 electric distribution cooperatives.

For fuel, ETEC has licensed NAPCO, a nearby chipping mill, for a 25-year agreement to provide wood chips and other wood materials to power the plant. Lonnie Grissom, president of NAPCO, said the plant will definitely be beneficial for the local timber industry.

According to an impact study conducted in late 2010 by GDS Associates, the biomass power plant is estimated to bring approximately $265 million in local economic benefits.

ETEC estimates about 250 jobs will be created with construction of the plant, and about 32 full-time jobs when it is completed.

ETEC Chief Financial Officer Ryan Thomas said construction of the plant is slated to begin in early 2012, pending approval of an environmental permit. The company received its air permit in November.

The goal is to complete the biomass plant in 2014, Thomas said.

According to the ETEC website, the capital cost of the project is about $190 million.