Biomass project heats up local economy

Renewable fuel
Renewable fuel

Iron Range generator burns local wood

If you shop locally, your dollars help your local economy, creating jobs, cash flow, and tax revenues. Electric utilities in Hibbing and Virginia, working jointly as the Laurentian Energy Authority, plan to buy local wood to fuel their electric generators. They hold a contract to sell 35 megawatts of biomass power to Xcel Energy.

According to early reports, the project is anticipated to bring in more than $704 million over 20 years, with $20 million spent in labor, fuel and materials. Up to 70 jobs are expected to be retained, with a possibility of 100-plus new jobs in the wood yard, transportation and tree growth parts of the operation.

Local representative Tony Sertich, commented on the project. “We tend to look for a win-win situation, but I say it’s a win to the power of four. This project is about economy, environment, economic development and innovation.”

$25 million tree farm

The Biomass Mandate from the Prairie Island Nuclear Power Plant compromise from 1994 requires that 25% of the fuel must come from closed-loop biomass, aka tree farms specifically grown for this project. About $25 million was anticipated to be invested in tree farms for the project. One of the farms is in Aitkin.

District heating, too

Excess heat generated by the project will provide district heating for the two cities. Word on the street is that the electricity contract is in excess of 10 cents/kWh. Commercial operation is slated for year’s end.

Source articles via Solar Kismet
Making Biomass a Reality Mesabi Daily News
Bring on Biomass Hibbing Daily Tribune
Iron Range biomass projects unveiled StarTribune

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

this is neat!!!!!!!!

posted on Wed, 11/22/2006 - 12:13pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:


posted on Thu, 02/22/2007 - 7:23pm

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