Burning Biomass: Austin, Texas Plans 100 Megawatt Waste-to-Energy Plant


photo: Nacogdoches Power

Biomass energy seems to be coming up on the TreeHugger radar more frequently in the past couple of weeks. Whether it comes from agriculture, animals, households or lumber, the drive to generate energy from waste products seems to be gaining momentum. The latest example of this is the news, via the Austin Business Journal, that Austin, Texas may be adding some waste-to-energy power to its renewables portfolio.

Biomass Energy Plant Scheduled to Come Online in 2012
It's just in the planning stages, but if the City Council approves the scheme, Austin Energy will be allowed to enter into a 20-year, $2.3 billion power supply agreement with Nacogdoches Power and it's planned 100 megawatt biomass plant in Sacul. Planned to come online in 2012, the plant will be fueled by waste wood from lumber and mill operations. Nacogdoches Power says that the plant will require 1 million tons of wood feedstock per year to operate.Austin Energy has a goal of generating 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2020. Currently the company generates 11% renewably. This project would increase that figure to 18%.

Austin Energy COO Michael McCluskey says that while the firm is heavily invested in wind power, this move is intended to diversify its portfolio so as to address the problem of intermittency—the wind doesn't always blow, causing wind farms to typically run at 30-40% of capacity. McCluskey says, though, that this biomass plant is expected to run at 95% capacity, generating "roughly three times the amount of energy each year that a 100 megawatt solar facility or 100 megawatt wind facility will produce."

via :: Austin Business Journal
Biomass Energy, Waste-to-Energy
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Tags: Architecture | Biofuels | Energy | Renewable Energy | Texas | United States

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