Klamath biomass plant gets key approval

Northwest Energy Systems is planning two Oregon biomass plants.

Northwest Energy Systems is planning two Oregon biomass plants.

A proposed $150 million Klamath Falls biomass plant won a key approval last week, putting it closer to breaking ground later this year.

Bellevue, Wash.-based Northwest Energy Systems Co. LLC said the state Department of Energy on June 30th declared its site certificate application for the 40-megawatt plant complete.

The state Department of Environmental Quality has already approved the project’s air quality permit.

The Department of Energy has asked for comment from various public officials and regulatory agencies by July 29 on the completed site certification application. It is also expected to open a 30-day public comment period starting July 13 and will hold a public meeting on July 27 at the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.

The next steps include the Department of Energy sending its findings and recommendations to the state’s Energy Facilities Siting Council, which would make a final decision on the project.

The company hopes that construction could begin sometime in late 2011.

The Klamath Falls project is one of two $150 million, 40-megawatt biomass plants proposed in Oregon by Northwest Energy Systems. The other would be located near Warm Springs in central Oregon.

The company hopes to have both projects operating by the end of 2013. Each would provide enough electricity to power 35,000 homes.

The approval for the Klamath plant follows news that Iberdrola Renewables is planning to build a 35-megawatt biomass plant in the region. Last month, Iberdrola confirmed it had changed plans from building a natural gas plant to going for biomass instead.

@ErikSiemers | esiemers@bizjournals.com | 503-219-3418


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