NRG Energy plans bioenergy park in Conn.

By Chris Hanson | August 07, 2013

NRG Energy Inc. has announced its plan to construct a bioenergy park next to its biomass facility in Montville, Conn.

The Montville Renewable Energy Park will consist of two fuel cell generators, a solar energy farm and a biomass power plant. The power plant, which is currently fueled by natural gas and oil, is to be reconfigured to fire 400,000 tons of local wood chips annually to generate 42 megawatts (MW) of energy. Currently, the biomass plant has secured all major permits, and construction is scheduled to begin by the end of the year, if an offtake contract is secured.

“The existing boiler will be reconfigured to handle solid fuel biomass,” said David Gaier, director of communications at NRG’s East Region. “We’ll construct fuel handling equipment, a fuel yard and a fuel storage building. The project will convert the existing boiler from suspension firing to stoker fired.” He added one of the advantages of the plant is its ability to still reach its original 80 MW capability using either natural gas or ultra-low sulfur diesel if needed at peak demand.  

The two, fuel cell generators will use natural gas to generate 5.6 MW of baseload electricity and co-generate steam for the power station. Furthermore, the solar farm will generate up to 2.3 MW of power to assist during peak load periods.

The entire project is expected to cost more than $100 million and is supported by the RenewMontville coalition. The project is aiming to help retain existing jobs at the station and spur up to 200 jobs to the local and regional economy in the timber and forest industry. Once completed, the bioenergy park will generate a total of 50 MW of power.