Biomass, Renewables

Progress Energy to purchase power from biomass plant

3 May 2006 — Progress Energy Florida (PEF) announced Monday that it has signed a long-term contract to purchase electricity generated by a unique energy source.

Biomass Investment Group, Inc. (BIG) plans to build an environmentally friendly power plant in central Florida using a crop known as E-Grass. It will generate about 130,000 kW. The plant is expected to avoid the need to burn nearly nine million tons of coal over the 25-year life of the contract.

Once constructed, it will be the world’s first commercial-scale, biomass power plant using crops grown on site. As a “closed-loop” plant, it will contribute no additional carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, and is estimated to reduce carbon emissions by more than 20 million tons over the life of the contract when compared to coal.

“As Florida continues to grow, we must ensure a good balance of generation resources, including both traditional and renewable means,” said Bill Habermeyer, president and CEO of Progress Energy Florida.

“We look forward to introducing Florida consumers to the environmental and economic benefits of this renewable technology,” said Allen Sharpe, president of BIG. “We appreciate Progress Energy’s strong support for this exciting project. We have come a long way in our quest to make this technology commercially viable.”

The contract will be filed for consideration with the Florida Public Service Commission (PSC). The company seeks PSC approval of the contract and certification of the proposed plant as a qualifying facility under Florida laws and regulations that encourage renewable energy.

PEF purchases more than 800 MW from a number of qualifying facilities. They utilize various fuel sources, including biomass, waste heat from agricultural processes and municipal solid waste.