Wood Biomass Power Plant Opens In Cushing
By CASEY MURPHY
CUSHING -- Southern Company, an Atlanta-based energy company, celebrated this morning the beginning of commercial operation of one of the nation's largest wood biomass power plants.
The 100-megawatt Nacogdoches Generating Facility will expand Southern Company's diverse fuel portfolio and help meet Austin Energy's renewable goals, company officials said. Company executives and local dignitaries attended the ceremony this morning.
The immediate plans for the facility will include a biomass-fueled electric generating plant that will be used to serve the growing electricity needs of Austin. The plant consists of a bubbling fluidized bed boiler, a condensing steam turbine generator with an evaporative cooling tower, wood fuel handling system and auxiliary support equipment.
It will be fueled with biomass materials, including forest residue from the surrounding areas, wood processing residues and clean municipal wood waste. About 1 million tons of fuel will be required annually and the company plans to procure it within a 75-mile radius of the project site, according to www.southerncompany.com
. Biomass generation is being used to help meet the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard, with the output serving the city of Austin.
The Nacogdoches Generating Facility is expected to produce millions of dollars in economic benefits through job creation and property taxes for Nacogdoches County and the surrounding Texas market, the website states. The entire output of the plant is covered by a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement with the city of Austin.
The site of the plant was construction-ready when Southern Company purchased it from American Renewables in 2009.
Southern Company is one of the largest generators of electricity in the nation, serving both regulated and competitive markets across the southeastern United States. Southern Company and its subsidiaries have been serving the Southeast for more than 100 years.
Southern Company has 4.4 million customers and more than 42,000 megawatts of generating capacity, the website states. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company businesses include electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company's four electric utilities are Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power and Mississippi Power.
Southern Power, its higher-growth competitive wholesale generation business, comprises more than 7,700 megawatts. Southern Company subsidiaries also sell power in the wholesale market and transmit wholesale power for other providers. In all, Southern Company generation serves about 75 investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives and municipalities in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and the Carolinas.
Southern Company has responsibility for about $6.2 billion in transmission assets, including more than 27,000 miles of transmission lines, 3,700 substations and 300,000 acres of right of way. The transmission system plans, designs, builds, operates and maintains a safe and reliable grid meeting North American Electric Reliability Council standards.
Other major subsidiaries and business units include Southern Nuclear, the licensed operator of Southern Company's three nuclear generating plants in Alabama and Georgia; SouthernLINC Wireless, a communications network with a 127,000 square-mile coverage area in the Southeast; and Southern Telecom, a fiber optic wholesaler in the Southeast.