ReVenture's yard waste feedstock ruled renewable

By Lisa Gibson | April 25, 2011

A recent decision by North Carolina regulators will clear the way for Forsite Development Inc.’s proposed ReVenture Park to sell biomass power and renewable energy credits (RECs) to Duke Energy Carolinas for resale to Duke customers.

The state granted most of Forsite’s request to declare yard waste and other material it plans to use at the plant as renewable energy under state law, according to Forsite. The 20-megawatt facility will sit along the Catawba River in Charlotte, N.C., on a 667-acre superfund site and will also use waste from Mecklenburg County’s compost facility and municipal solid waste (MSW) from Mecklenburg residential garbage collections.

The MSW will first be processed at another proposed facility off-site, to be operated by Charlotte-based recycling firm FCR Casella. That facility will be permitted to process about 575,000 tons of garbage per year, supplying between 180,000 and 200,000 tons to ReVenture’s biomass plant, according to Forsite President Tom McKittrick. The yard debris will be processed separately.

The power plant will use ICM Inc.’s gasification technology, coupled with emissions abatement systems from Eisenmann Corp. and is expected to be operational in 2013. But it’s just one aspect of the plans for ReVenture Park, which would be the region’s first eco-industrial area. The park would also include a solar field, a wastewater treatment facility, energy crop demonstration stands, an ethanol mixing operation, and office space for research and development, among other aspects. The biomass power plant, however, is the farthest along in development.

The feedstock ruling marks the second in North Carolina for the benefit of Duke Energy. In November, the North Carolina Utilities Commission ruled whole tree chips as an eligible feedstock under the state’s renewable electricity standard. The decision was prompted by a request from Duke that it receive RECs for cofiring wood chips in two of its coal-fired power stations.