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Virginia biomass project receives $90 million

By Anna Austin | October 17, 2011

The Northern Virginia Power Cooperative has received a $90 million loan from the USDA Rural Utilities Service to help build a biomass power plant near South Boston in southern Virginia.

The loan is part of Obama’s American Jobs Act, as about 300-400 workers will be needed throughout construction of the plant, and about 40 full-time positions will be required to operate the finished facility.

The 49.9-megawatt plant is being developed jointly by Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) and Michigan-based energy services company Novi Energy. It will be powered with wood waste from logging operations within a 75-mile radius of the plant, and will not require the use of clean water from the local water authority as it will be cooled with grey water from a nearby wastewater treatment facility in a closed loop system.

Mike Curtis of NOVEC public relations said the total cost of the plant is expected to be about $180 million. Construction is underway, according to Curtis, and it is scheduled for completion before the end of 2013.

NOVEC said the plant will provide approximately 6 percent of the cooperative's future power needs for the years 2014 through 2030.