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[GreenYes] Commissioners clear the path for FLA commercial biomass plant



Commissioners clear the path for innovative commercial biomass plant
The five-member Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) has taken a critical
step to further development of the worldâs first commercial-scale power
plant fueled with crops grown on site.
The Commissioners voted to approve a petition for Progress Energy Florida
(Progress) to buy energy produced by the Florida Biomass Energy Group, LLC
(Florida Biomass).
Florida Biomass plans to build and operate an electric generating plant on a
15,000-acre farm near Lake Okeechobee. The plant will produce power from a
tall, bamboo-like grass. The crop will be grown and harvested in a continuous
cycle and converted into a liquid fuel that will be used in a traditional
combined cycle generator. The plant will also feature groundbreaking ways to
process the plant material, using unique harvesting and material-handling
systems. The biomass plant is slated to begin operation no later than December 2009.

The plant is expected to generate 116 megawatts of power, which would be the
largest amount of power generated by a renewable fuel plant in the state of
Florida. Projections indicate the energy would be slightly less expensive
than the average cost of electric power from other sources. The plant will also
contribute to the diversity of the fuel mix for electrical generation in
Florida.
The agreement between Progress and Florida Biomass includes flexible targets,
since the project incorporates numerous innovative designs. Projections for
the plant indicate Progress ratepayers could see a benefit of $39 million in
savings over a 25-year period.
(Posted 08.30.06)
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