Iberdrola Opens First US Co-Generation Biomass Plant in Oregon

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Iberdrola Renovables has begun to build its first US forestry biomass co-generation power plant in the United States, in Oregon, in response to new renewable energy standards requiring Oregon utilities get 25% renewable energy by 2025.

Its 27 MW Lakeview co-generation plant will be producing energy from forest waste, a renewable resource in Oregon, by the end of 2012, according to a report at Ordons Energy.

As a co-generation plant it essentially doubles its output, making both heat in btus, and power by the kWh.

The plant is sited in rural Lake County, where it is not only ideally positioned to utilize biomass from forestry waste, but it is also strategically located just 20 miles from the California border – and close to major transmission lines.

Oregon’s rural south eastern Lake County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the US. This project brings 200 jobs to get it built and going, and another 50 ongoing jobs operating the plant, and transporting and storing biomass to fuel it.

Iberdrola’s first forestry biomass co-generation plant in Guadalajara, Spain will serve as a benchmark for the construction, commissioning and gathering of biomass in this project. Like it, the Oregon plant will be entirely air-cooled, reducing water use by more than 80%.

Biomass co-generation represents a departure for global wind leader Iberdrola. In the US, it is the second biggest wind company, with 47 wind farms in 23 states totaling 4,314 MW.

Although Iberdrola Renovables was born in Europe as a result of the progressive legislation there since the EU signed the Kyoto Accord in 1997, requiring carbon emissions reductions; it is now beginning to expand in the US, as more states pass clean energy policy that is as progressive as that in EU nations, and consequently add more renewable energy.

With total global wind capacity totaling 12,006 MW, Iberdrola is the world leader in wind power, but its US wind farms now represent a quarter of its global wind business. It now has 800 US employees and has generated over 14,200 other indirect jobs here since 2006. Over the last three years, it made purchases from US companies worth $5.5 billion.

Image: Michael McCullough

Susan Kraemer@Twitter


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