Biomass power plant to open at Ga. paper mill
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal has announced that Dublin-based Green Power Solutions will open a power plant in Laurens County, creating 35 permanent jobs with an initial capital investment of $95 million. This new biomass-fueled plant is the culmination of more than 18 months of collaboration between Beasley Forestry Products and Land Care Services, and it will support up to 200 additional jobs in the forest industry. Having already received approval from the Georgia Public Service Commission, the GPS plant is slated to be the largest renewable energy qualifying facility developed to date in Georgia.
“Georgia is increasingly becoming a go-to location for biomass-based energy ventures, so we are encouraged by Green Power Solutions’ decision to choose Dublin and Laurens County for this innovative renewable energy plant,” said Deal. “Companies such as Green Power Solutions do well in Georgia due in large part to our plentiful forestry resources and existing workforce trained for this industry.”
The GPS power plant will be located at an existing paper mill in Laurens County that was recently purchased by SP Fiber Technologies LLC. The planned capital expenditures will allow GPS not only to provide the steam required for the paper mill’s daily operations but also to generate 56 megawatts of electricity that will be provided to the electrical grid. GPS will provide base load power, which will be sold to Georgia Power Co. under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
“This is a great project that will help the local economy and advance the goal of energy independence by utilizing locally produced renewable resources,” said Tim Kennedy of Green Power Solutions. “We look forward to working with the community as the facility takes shape and begins operations.”
GPS will also construct a new wood yard in connection with the project and expects to utilize in excess of 1 million tons of round wood, bark and other woody biomass annually from the local area.
“We are excited about the new partnership with SP Fiber Technology and GPS. SP Fiber’s commitment to sustainability growth in our community is without comparison,” said Jimmy Allgood, past chairman of the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority. “The team at GPS makes this project viable for long-term growth in Laurens County. The Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority completely endorses this new technology for our community, state and nation.”
The Georgia Department of Economic Development collaborated with the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority to manage this project. GDEcD Regional Project Manager Ryan Waldrep assisted Green Power Solutions on behalf of Georgia.
“Our state’s profile in the renewable energy sector is raised significantly when companies such as Green Power Solutions choose to do business in Georgia,” said GDEcD Commissioner Chris Cummiskey. “Our goal is to be recognized not only as the best place for business, but also as a strategic location for companies in the fast-growing biomass energy industry.”
Construction at the Green Power Solutions plant is scheduled to begin in May 2013, with commercial power plant operations beginning in 2015.