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Proposed Ore. biomass plant reaches milestone

By Anna Austin | January 10, 2012

A 42 MW biomass power plant proposed for south central Oregon has been recommended for approval by the Oregon Department of Energy.

The ODOE issued a Draft Proposed Order for Klamath Falls Bioenergy on Jan. 9, which recommended that the state Energy Facility Siting Council approve the project, subject to a series of conditions. A public hearing on the draft order will be held on Jan. 31.

The plant will be located about two miles southwest of Klamath Falls, Ore., on a 106-acre site. It will burn about 960 tons of waste wood per day—including trees thinned to reduce the threat of further spreading of the mountain pine beetle—from area forests in the region. Electricity generated will be enough to power around 35,000 homes, and will qualify for Oregon’s renewable portfolio standard of 25 percent renewable energy by 2025.

In addition to helping meet renewable energy mandates, the plant should have a fairly significant economic impact on the region. A study of the proposed plant’s potential economics indicate it would create nearly 330 construction jobs, generating $30.3 million in construction payroll, $12 million in locally purchased equipment, and $9.2 million in locally purchased goods and services. During operations, more than 190 direct and indirect jobs will be generated.

“The department’s proposed order is confirmation that this project can meet applicable standards and should be approved,” said Klamath Falls Bioenergy President and CEO Bob Jones.

On top of the Draft Proposed Order, the project has already received an air permit from the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.