Downtown biomass plant OKd for further study

first_imgClark County commissioners gave staff members the go-ahead this week to continue studying the feasibility of building a biomass-fueled power plant in downtown Vancouver and stressed that a public-private partnership would be the way to go to reduce the county’s risks. Mark McCauley, the county’s general services manager, told commissioners Wednesday that the county has heard from companies interested in building and operating the plant on county-owned property that the county could lease for $1. The company would earn tax credits and could sell excess power, McCauley said.This summer, commissioners agreed to spend $225,000 of a federal energy block grant on studying the feasibility of a biomass boiler system (fueled by tree tops, limbs and the detritus of producing lumber) that would provide central heating, cooling and domestic hot water for five county buildings: the Public Service Center, courthouse, jail, 911 center and juvenile courthouse.McCauley said no insurmountable problems have been uncovered with regard to land use, fuel, air quality or engineering. Last year, county commissioners ditched a plan to build a 20-megawatt biomass power plant on the site of a former plywood mill in Chelatchie Prairie.The proposed downtown plant would produce 2 to 3 megawatts of electricity, McCauley said.A preliminary study has shown that the county would save an average of $179,136 a year in reduced natural gas and electricity costs, or 10.5 percent of the county’s total annual energy bill.last_img read more