Plant marks first new biomass facility in Oregon in more than ten years
This week Governor Ted Kulongoski announced that DG Energy will build a biomass power plant in Lakeview, Oregon — marking the first new biomass facility in Oregon since 1992.
"Using biomass from overstocked forests, this innovative project will produce electricity while helping restore forest health, reduce fire risks, and create jobs," said Governor Kulongoski. "This project serves as a model for collaboration between industry, conservationists and state government in enhancing forest health, developing renewable energy and creating jobs."
DG Energy will invest $20 million in the facility and it will produce nearly 100,000 MWHr of renewable energy to the regional Oregon grid annually. In addition, the facility will supply steam to the Fremont Sawmill, owned by the Collins Companies of Portland Oregon. Permits for the plant will be filed in mid-Spring and the facility is expected to be operational in 2008.
The Lakeview Biomass Project was designated an Oregon Solutions project by Governor Kulongoski in 2005. The Oregon Solutions Process resulted in a collaboration of nearly 70 public, private and community organizations to develop an economically viable, ecologically sustainable power plant. The fuel sources for the plant will become a key part of an integrated solution to a multi-faceted forest health problem.
Key partners include: Oregon State University, Portland State University, The Collins Companies, Oregon Economic and Community Development Department, Oregon Department of Forestry, United States Forest Service, Friends of the Winema/Fremont, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, The Wilderness Society, Oregon Natural Resource Council and Defenders of Wildlife. The Lake County Resources Initiative is the project sponsor.
"We appreciate the support of the Governor and are pleased to have the opportunity to work with the community in the development of this innovative project," said Steve Mueller, President of DG Energy.
The plant will create local jobs in harvesting and hauling the once-unwanted biomass. The salvaged materials that are suitable for solid wood products will be milled, another boon to job development. Additional project benefits will include enhanced water resources, fish and wildlife habitat and renewable energy from a resource that was once a threat to forest health and potentially reduced costs in fire fighting.
"The whole community is pleased that DG Energy is going to build the biomass plant in Lakeview. It will mean approximately 15 jobs at the plant and another 70 in the woods and that is considerable for a community of 2600. Just as important, the biomass plant along with Fremont Sawmill provide the necessary infrastructure to restore the local forests and rangelands back to natural conditions, something many other communities in the West have totally lost," said Jim Walls, Director, Lake County Resources Initiative.