Iberdrola Renewables starts biomass energy construction in Lakeview, Ore.
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November 10, 2010
Long-awaited Lakeview Biomass Cogeneration Plant expected to bring jobs, improved forest health to Southern Oregon
PORTLAND, Ore. - Iberdrola Renewables today announced the start of construction at its 26.8-megawatt Lakeview Biomass Cogeneration Plant in Lakeview, Ore. The Lakeview project is expected to produce enough power for 18,000 typical homes.
"We are delighted to begin building this long-awaited project," said Ralph Currey, CEO of Iberdrola Renewables. "The Lakeview plant will provide base load renewable energy, jobs and improve Oregon's forest health while reducing wildfire danger."
"Today's announcement that Iberdrola Renewables is starting construction on a new biomass energy plant in Lakeview is not only great news for Lake County, it is great news for the timber industry in Oregon," said U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden. "It demonstrates the potential for new opportunities in our forests, and a way to make the forest health projects we need to get done in the woods more economically viable. It also reflects the hard work that this community has done to create new jobs and get back on its feet."
"Iberdrola Renewables, the local community and Collins never lost sight of the vision, and they strongly persevered through numerous setbacks and delays. Now, their faith and effort will pay off in jobs, efficiency, and better health of our forests in the area. As a renewable resource, biomass is a proven technology and will be an important part of Oregon's economic future," said U.S. Rep. Greg Walden.
Located approximately 90 miles east of Iberdrola Renewables' existing Klamath Cogeneration Plant, the Lakeview project will be a combined heat and power - or cogeneration - facility using latest-generation technology. Like Klamath, environmental impacts will be minimized through innovative techniques. At Lakeview the plant will be entirely air-cooled - reducing water use by more than 80 percent as compared to conventional water cooling.
Collins Pine Company will provide fuel from a combination of logging and sawmill residuals from its Fremont Sawmill. Collins' Lakeview forest operations - where much of the plant's fuel will come from - have been independently certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as consistent with their standards for forest management practices.
"The Lakeview Cogeneration Plant rounds out the tools to efficiently and effectively improve the forest health in our surrounding forests. It started with the challenges of forest restoration. Fire and disease have long inhibited the ability to sustain our forests. To economically take on the forest restoration, markets are critical for small logs and biomass. In 2007, Collins invested in a small log processing side to our existing mill eenvisioning a cogeneration plant to holistically treat stands to improve forest health, increase growth on existing timber stocks and reduce the chance of catastrophic fires," said Eric Schooler, President & CEO, The Collins Companies. "The Forest Service helped deliver more certainty with 10-year Stewardship Contracts. Iberdrola Renewables completes the solution with today's announcement. The community will add jobs, the forests will heal, and our sawmill employees have a future! A great day!"
Collins will also purchase the equivalent of two megawatts of steam from the project to run their lumber drying process more efficiently and with lower air emissions. The Fremont Sawmill is directly adjacent to the biomass plant's 55-acre site.
"The positive impact of between 150 and 200 construction workers over the next 18 months will support our local economy as we recover from the recession," said Ray Simms, Town Manager, Town of Lakeview. "Additionally, we see great opportunity to improve forest health on both public and private lands and a new tool to use to help manage the air quality in the Lakeview area."
A wide range of state and community leaders, local industry, U.S. Forest Service (USFS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and environmental groups have been involved during the project's multi-year development.
"Lakeview biomass is a long-awaited tool for forest management activities," said Fred Way, Fremont-Winema National Forest Supervisor. "The facility will play a key role in the restoration and long-term health of southern and eastern Oregon forests."
"The Lakeview biomass project is exactly the kind of collaborative and sustainable economic development that our rural communities need," said Jane O'Keeffe, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors, Sustainable Northwest. "The new plant will create long-term family-wage jobs for Lakeview, while generating renewable energy from unwanted wood residuals. Iberdrola Renewables' Lakeview biomass plant is a great example of how we can simultaneously improve the health of both our forests and our local economies through smart resource management."
"This biomass project is a major milestone for the decade-long collaboration to restore the ecological health of the national forest lands near Lakeview," said Mike Anderson, Senior Resource Analyst for The Wilderness Society. "We look forward to working with our partners in the Lakeview Stewardship Group to use this new tool to help improve environmental conditions in the forest and provide economic benefits to the local community." Formed in 1998 to restore the 500,000-acre Lakeview Federal Stewardship Unit, the Lakeview Stewardship Group is an award-winning collaborative effort that includes conservationists, timber workers, local government officials, and other civic leaders.
"We are pleased to see construction start on this new facility which will help achieve needed restoration of our forests, reduce the threat of uncharacteristic wildfire and also provide economic benefits to the Lakeview community," said Russell Hoeflich, Oregon Director for The Nature Conservancy. "We greatly appreciate the efforts of the community and its many partners to make this project a reality."
"Although my 12 years working with the Lakeview Stewardship Group have focused on how ecological restoration of area forest lands can benefit wildlife and watersheds, I've learned it's also essential to consider social and economic needs. Utilization of forest biomass isn't appropriate everywhere, but for the dry forests on the Lakeview Stewardship Unit, Iberdrola Renewables' biomass plant will fill in the final piece of the puzzle to help restoration projects proceed in ways that are ecologically, economically and socially sound," said Rick Brown, who recently retired after 10 years with Defenders of Wildlife as a Senior Resource Specialist.
"For several years the Fremont-Winema National Forest has anticipated the construction of a biomass power plant in Lakeview. Beyond the obvious positive effects that this project brings to the Town of Lakeview and Lake County economy, Lakeview Biomass represents an important, and to this point missing, tool for public and private forest land managers. Having a local outlet for logging slash and other small-diameter, low-value biomass will assist our managers in their efforts to plan and execute needed forest restoration projects. The resulting forests will be healthier and less prone to loss from fires or insect attack," said Fred Way, Fremont-Winema National Forest, Forest Supervisor. "Iberdrola Renewables' Lakeview Biomass will also provide forest land managers new options to reduce the amount of fuels that would traditionally be dealt with by prescribed burning, contributing to improved air quality."
"We're very pleased with Iberdrola Renewables' selection of Lake County for their Lakeview Cogeneration biomass facility," said Ken Kestner, Lake County Commissioner. "The facility will have only beneficial spin-offs for the county. Staffing of the facility will integrate new families into the community and hopefully new kids for our schools. Partnering with The Collins Companies to provide bio-fuel and receive steam heat in return furthers the stability of our local Fremont Sawmill and jobs there. An additional 50 new jobs to harvest and transport excess woody material from the forest will be a major plus for Lake County's economy. And, removal of excessive woody materials only contributes to our forest's ecological health and lessens the potential for catastrophic forest fires."
The Lakeview Plant is located 20 miles from California close to major transmission facilities. Iberdrola Renewables' expects strong interest from its public and private utility customers as they seek to diversify their renewable energy supplies. Previously, Iberdrola Renewables successfully managed the long-term sale of the output from a 55-MW biomass cogeneration plant in Tacoma, Wash., to the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD).
Iberdrola Renewables is part of the world's leading provider of wind power with more than 12,000 MW of wind power installed globally, plus over 600 MW of clean gas-fired generation and more than 146 BCF of owned and contracted gas storage, making it one of the few companies capable of providing structured energy solutions and allowing large industrial and commercial customers to manage risks and uncertainty in the natural gas and power industries.