SAN FRANCISCO – The North Fork bioenergy plant has just cleared another hurdle toward getting the project up and running. They have now been offered a power purchase agreement from Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
North Fork Community Power, LLC, is a joint venture between Phoenix Energy and the North Fork Community Development Council that will own and operate a biomass gasification facility in North Fork.
Phoenix Energy has announced that two of its developments – North Fork Community Power and Blue Mountain Electric Company – have received offers for power purchase agreements (PPAs) from PG&E.
The offers were awarded under the Bioenergy Market Adjusting Tariff (BioMAT), a program the California Public Utilities Commission developed to implement California Senate Bill 1122, which requires electrical corporations such as PG&E to procure 50 megawatts of power each year from bioenergy plants using byproducts that are sustainably harvested from the forest.
Under the PPAs, North Fork and Willseyville will receive $199.72 per MWh exported to the grid for 20 years from commencement of operation. Once they are operating, Phoenix Energy expects the projects to collectively export 37,500 MWh per year, equating to nearly $7.5 million of annual revenue from power sales, before revenue from biochar and other byproducts. The two biomass companies have 2 ½ years from the date of contract award to interconnect to the grid.
“We are extremely excited to receive these PPA offers and look forward to working with PG&E to quickly complete the construction and interconnection of both the North Fork and Willseyville projects, providing California with clean, flexible electricity that can be produced around the clock while also reducing wildfire risk and sequestering carbon,” says Phoenix Energy CEO, Gregory Stangl. “These attractive PPAs reflect the value the projects will provide to the local wildfire threatened communities that are both our partners and hosts as well as to PG&E and the State of California.”
Both projects are being constructed on former sawmill sites that each had large cogeneration plants in the 1990s, says Stangl.
“In addition to generating valuable electricity, biochar and heat, these projects are fueled by excess and widely available forestry biomass,” says Stangl. “These projects will reduce fire danger and stop wasteful ‘pile and burn’ disposal of excess forest material. California has numerous communities in the Sierra with a similar story.”
Dan Rosenberg is president of the North Fork Community Development Council, which is a JV partner in the North Fork power plant.
“We are delighted to be able to combine environmental stewardship with job creation and sustainable energy production for our community,” said Rosenberg, who notes that with the power purchase agreement, the way is cleared to finding investors.
“We have been contacted by large potential investors in the past few days, and we expect more to show an interest now that we have the PPA in hand. With the tree mortality, we also have a practically infinite supply of biomass.”
Rosenberg says they are speaking with companies that have the technology to grind the trees into the size chunks they need for the plant, which is larger than the standard wood chip.
When biomass comes in off the forest, it needs to be dried to lower the moisture content. They are also exploring the possibility of having a kiln on the Old Mill property which would use the waste heat from the biomass plant to accomplish the drying process.
Phoenix Energy is an independent power producer that develops and operates distributed generation biomass gasification plants in partnership with businesses and communities. By focusing on small plants in the 1-3 MW range, the company strives to keep electricity, heat and fuel local to the plant where the value of energy is highest and transportation costs are avoided. The gasification technology also produces biochar, which serves to permanently sequester carbon in solid form and is valued as a soil conditioner and filter media.
North Fork Community Power, LLC is a joint venture between Phoenix Energy and the North Fork Community Development Council that will own and operate the biomass gasification facility in North Fork, CA.
Calaveras Healthy Impact Product Solutions, Inc. is a small non-profit dedicated to triple bottom line outcomes; economic development, environmental restoration and revitalizing the Blue Mountain community.
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