MARIPOSA – The Mariposa Biomass Project (MBP) is taking a giant step toward becoming operational.
MBP officials recently released an update from technology provider and project partner, Cortus Energy, a green-tech company based in Sweden.
The project update came after the Cortus Energy board of directors authorized release of the funds necessary for the MBP to enter the queue for a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with PG&E under the BioMAT program created by California law S.B. 1122.
“This important step not only allows the MBP to meet one of the milestones in the project’s $5 million EPIC grant from the California Energy Commission,” said project CEO and Mariposa resident, Jay Johnson.
Johnson added that the recent action by the Cortus board “is also a critical step in assuring potential investors of a guaranteed revenue stream, estimated to be about $4 million a year, for the 20-year duration of the purchase agreement.”
A similar biomass project in North Fork has also negotiated a PPA with PG&E under the BioMAT program. That 2-MW project could break ground on later this year and be operational by late 2020, according to its backers.
The nonprofit Mariposa Biomass Project “has been in a sort of pause mode for a while for reasons we documented on our web page (www.mariposabiomassproject.org),” Steve Smallcombe, CTO of the project, said this week. “But we are now moving forward again.”
“During Q1 and Q2 some uncertainties about the future of the [BioMAT] program existed as PG&E was, and is, under bankruptcy reorganization (Chapter 11),” stated a recent press release issued by Cortus. “It has become clear during the second quarter that the program will continue, and PG&E will enter into new PPA contracts. With a twenty-year subsidized electricity price secured, this means that we can now seriously invite partners and co-investors to the project.”
“With the Mariposa project, we are opening the doors to the U.S. market where the state of California is a role model for sustainable electricity production,” the Cortus press release also stated.
Johnson said the Mariposa Biomass Project is “proud that Cortus Energy has chosen our project for their entry into the North American market. Locally, the project will improve fire safety by using sustainably harvested woody biomass removed from around homes and infrastructure, such as roads, power lines and fuel breaks, to create clean green renewable electrical energy.”
Once built, the Mariposa bioenergy plant will connect to the grid at the PG&E substation located near the Mariposa Industrial Park, the project’s development site.
“The project will create good-paying, non-tourism related jobs operating the plant and cutting and hauling the biomass,” Johnson said. “Four million [dollars] in revenue from only an average of 3 chip trucks a day is not only good business, it is good for the community.”