1999 CPEO Brownfields List Archive

From: John Sheehan <plumasco@psln.com>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 10:25:33 -0700 (PDT)
Reply: cpeo-brownfields
Subject: Re: Request for Advise, Insight, Comment on Locating WoodBurningPower Plant in Urban Industrial Area
I'm here in rural NE CA and we have a number of forest and mill wood waste
electric plants in the area that I work closely with. I'd second all of
comments and add a few more.
The # of jobs is overestimated. Our local facilities (similar MWs) don't
use more than a dozen employees each.
The keys on the power sales contract are the length of term (if any) at a
subsidized rate and what proportion of output will be bought at the subsidized
rate. If it's less than ten years then the project can't be fully
amortized. If
the power company doesn't guarantee purchase of all the power at a rate
that deals
with the "nut" then it's not worthwhile.

Most of the facilities in this area have had a short period of time where they
have problems meeting particulate standards till the get the bag house and
precipitators adjusted. The community and regulators should expect a shakedown

The biggest issue we have here is getting biomass supply at a low price. The
feedstock should be chipped and ready to put into the boiler at less than
$20 per
bone dry ton, preferably $0.

The industry in CA is over 500 mw and ranges in size from 10-50 MW. Learn from
them. If you need contacts, let me know.

good luck,
John Sheehan


> Emery:
> Having done some wood waste projects of various kinds, as well as a
> number of power projects, I have a few thoughts.  If you want more
> details, let me know.
> 1.  Will the sales of power to the local utility be sufficient to support
> economics of the project?  Don't think that PURPA will always be around.
>  There are proposals before congress to eliminate the Section 210
> obligation to purchase power on a prospective basis.  If that hurts the
> economics, you need to think about that.
> 2.  What rate will the power company pay?  Is it buying capacity, or
> energy or both?  Will it dispatch the unit?  Are there limits on dispatch?
> How does that fit with the other economics.
> 3.   How much does CO2 sales add to the economics?  Is the process
> really worth the additional capital?
> 4.  What kind of turbine or other generator?  I'm assuming steam,
> because I don't think you could make do on a combustion turbine.   Given
> the location, will noise be an issue?  How big is the site, and what's
> adjacent?
> 5.  Used pallets are notorious for having materials besides wood,
> depending on what they have carried and how many times.  Has the
> developer tested local used pallets?  There can be heavy metals,
> pesticides, paints, solvents and other materials.  Will the pollution
> system handle them all?
> 6.  Will the faclity qualify as a recycling facility under local law, or
> you need waste disposal permits?  If the facility must be permitted as a
> waste disposal facility, there can be additional costs, additional
> requirements, and more stringent reviews.
> 7.  Will the facility take all pallets or only those which are "clean" ?
> supplies the pallets?   Is volume big enough?  Will you need an area to
> sort?
> 8.  Most facilities of this type chip the pallets, and store chips not
> pallets.
> Will you have roofed or indoor storage?  Outdoor storage will likely
> require some stormwater considerations (again -- what is on the
> pallets?).
> 9.  If the facility qualifies as a recycler, will you use pollution control
> bonds for financing, or economic development bonds, or all private
> capital?  Who will hold title to the facility and the property?  If bonds
> be issued, the indenture trustee or the economic development authority
> needs to get happy with the environmental issues, especially at a
> brownfields.
> 10.  Air permit issues -- PSD?  Non-attainment?  NOx controls and NOx
> trading?  SOx allowances (should be ok, sulfur emissions are likely to be
> low).
> Bottom line -- as my father taught me, a project like this makes sense only
> if the raw economics make sense.  Given whatever it will cost to get,
> store and chip pallets, turn them into steam and control emissions, can
> you make money selling the power?  selling the CO2? How close are the
> margins?  If you can make money, the rest is doable.  If everything
> hinges on a few assumptions, best to look at them very closely.
> regards,
> Chuck Patrizia
> >>> Emery Graham <"egraham"@ci.wilmington.de.us> 08/12/99 09:50am
> >>>
> Request for Advise, Insight, Comment on Locating Wood Burning Power
> Plant
> in Urban Industrial Area
> This listserv has been very useful. I'd like to get some feedback from
> its members regarding a proposed project that meets the following
> description. This is an open question and I'd like to get as
> broadranging a set of comments as possible. I'd like to know if there is
> technology available to mitigate any environmental negatives that might
> be associated with this type of plant.
> The project would be located in a small river based municipality, in a
> brownfields, environmentally impacted, minority, and low/moderate
> income
> area. From a market perspective the location is ideal in that the local
> power company will buy the power, a compressed gas company will
> buy the
> carbon dioxide, a greenhouse project will use cogenerated steam. I'd
> like to know what the environmental impacts are likely to be. The
> nearest residents are within a half mile of the proposed project site.
> The project is a small (22 megawatt) energy and carbon dioxide plant
> that uses clean wood salvaged from construction debris, used pallets,
> and
> residential landscaping material as fuel. This material is currently
> being disposed of in area landfills.
> The project has number of advantages for the citizens of Wilmington:
> i) it creates approximately 65 jobs
> ii) it saves rapidly diminishing space in landfills through recycling
> waste wood materials, and
> iii) emissions from this environmentally friendly project is but a fraction
> of those emitted by conventional coal or oil fired power plants.
> Thanks In Advance,
> Emery

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