Thursday, January 28, 2010

Proposed Biomass facility in Appling County put on hold for now









Biomass facility put on hold for now



The News-Banner received word last week from Oglethorpe Power Company (OPC) that it has deferred its plans to construct a 100-megawatt biomass electric generating facility in Baxley. The company will continue to assess the site, but construction has been halted on the site for now. The property owned by OPC is located on Hundreds Road, just outside the city limits off Highway 341 East.

OPC's Director of Public Relations Greg Jones reported to The News-Banner that the economic downturn of the past months has resulted in a reduction in the rate of growth in demand for electricity by consumers of the 39 Electric Membership Corporations (EMCs) served by Oglethorpe. Jones also pointed out that there is continued uncertainty over potential regulat ions that could impact renewable generation projects as an additional factor in OPC's decision to delay the project.

"As a result of these and other factors, OPC decided in consultation with its 39 Member EMCs to defer construction of the proposed 100-megawatt biomass electric generating plant in Appling County," said Jones.

As originally announced OPC had planned to build two, possibly three biomass facilities in the state. They have since scaled back and moving forward with only one of the projects, and that facility is located in Warren County.

The good news is that the company is not abandoning the project completely.

"Evaluation of the Appling County project is ongoing, but work on a biomass plant has been discontinued at that site for now," commented Jones. "The Appling County project has not been canceled, and OPC will continue to own the land and to consider it a potential site for a biomass plant in the futur e.

"This decision is based strictly on external factors and is in no way a reflection on Baxley and Appling County, which Oglethorpe Power has found to be an outstanding community. Moreover, the local development authority, city, county and other local officials have been very professional and supportive throughout this process, and OPC looks forward to a continued positive relationship with them.

"Oglethorpe Power regrets the need to defer this facility, but, as a not-for-profit cooperative, OPC must be responsive to changing conditions that impact its Member EMCs' needs for new generating facilities," Jones added.

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