Sunday, April 17, 2011

Progress Energy signs contract for first poultry waste-to-biogas plant


Progress Energy Carolinas has signed a contract with Poultry Power USA to purchase the output of a poultry waste-to-biogas energy plant to be located in Montgomery County, N.C. Poultry Power USA will build, own and operate the 36-megawatt (MW) power plant and sell the electricity to the utility for use with its customers.

“Turning poultry litter into power is an important milestone in the development of bio-waste energy resources in our state,” said Lloyd Yates, president and chief executive officer of Progress Energy Carolinas. “Innovative renewable energy technologies, aggressive energy efficiency programs and a state-of-the-art power system are important parts of a balanced approach to meeting our region’s future energy demands.”

Progress Energy Carolinas is aggressively pursuing renewable energy projects to meet the targets of North Carolina’s renewable energy portfolio standard (REPS), established in 2007. The REPS includes a statutory requirement that a portion of statewide electricity comes from poultry waste. The state’s utilities must together provide a total of 900,000 megawatt-hours per year from poultry waste, beginning in 2014. This project will help Progress Energy Carolinas meet its share of this requirement.

The plant will be built in Biscoe and is scheduled to begin operation in early 2013. Poultry Power USA estimates the project will be an investment of $125 million and bring about 100 direct and indirect jobs to the area. The plant will use 350,000 tons of poultry litter per year. Terms of the contract were not announced.

“We are pleased to bring jobs and commerce to North Carolina,” said George Erickson Sr., the chief executive officer of Poultry Power USA. “Our clean technology will provide renewable energy to consumers in the state, and we are excited about being a solution to the litter disposal challenges facing the poultry industry. Our commitment is to be a clean and solid corporate citizen with a small carbon footprint.”

Poultry Power USA is based in Jacksonville, Fla., and is a subsidiary of Green Frontiers Energy. The company will use a clean gasification technology at the Biscoe plant to turn poultry waste into a biogas to be burned inside a boiler. The heat in the boiler creates steam that then turns a turbine and generates electricity. The plant will have environmental controls and will have to meet all state and federal environmental standards.

Progress Energy Carolinas has several other biomass projects, such as wood waste-to-energy or landfill gas plants, but this is the first poultry waste-to-energy project in North Carolina. The utility also has about 7 MW of solar energy operating in the state.

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