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Adage cancels Washington biopower plant

By Lisa Gibson | March 14, 2011

As the result of an unfavorable energy market and low natural gas prices, Adage has effectively canceled development of its biomass power facility in Washington state.

The company had secured its required permits for the Mason County facility and entered into feedstock agreements, but the market in the state cannot foster the project, according to Tom DePonty, director of public affairs for Adage, a joint venture between Areva and Duke Energy. The 55-megawatt woody biomass power plant was to be built in Johns Prairie Industrial Park in the western Washington city of Shelton. Construction was to begin this year, after about 2½ years of active development work.

The decision to cancel the facility was not related to citizen opposition or trouble with permit issuances, DePonty said. “It’s the lack of a strong market for this project. Despite reports, the local community was extremely supportive.”

The company signed a community workforce agreement in November, promising the available jobs would be filled with local workers. It had also drawn up a feedstock supply agreement with private forest landowner Green Diamond Resource Co. Patti Case, public affairs manager for Green Diamond, had said the company was excited about the project and the prospect of supplying slash for fuel instead of burning it in the forest to clear the way for new planting.

Adage has a similar project in Hamilton County, Fla., but has run into the same market issues there, causing development to be shelved, DePonty said. The permit eligibility at the site will expire in the middle of this year.

“We are slowing down all our development,” he said.