Colusa bio-mass plant could break ground next year
A bio-mass plant that will use rice and almond hulls as well as other green waste from the region could break ground sometime early next year.
But this is not the mega-Calmetha project proposed for Colusa.
This is, in comparison, a relatively modest 30-megawatt plant that would be built, in part, on the Colusa Industrial Properties.
Feedstock would actually be stored on ground outside the industrial park, said Steve Carpenter, president and chief executive officer of Green Planet Power Solutions.
That land, under the county's new general plan, is proposed to be changed from agricultural to industrial zoning, the county Planning Department confirmed.
The $100 million Colusa project, one of several in the works for the Auburn-based firm, comes under the name of Colusa Bio Energy.
"Assuming the usual permitting and approval process, we are looking (to break ground) in the first quarter of next year," Carpenter said. "Then it is a two-year construction project."
Technically, the plant is considered a net producer.
In other words, it will generate power for its own use, then sell the rest. So at 30-megawatts, it will actually produce about 33 megawatts, and use about three itself.
Carpenter said the company is looking to sell the power to several utility firms, but Pacific, Gas & Electric Co. is not among those.
"We're in the final negotiation stage for our PPA (purchase power agreement) with several utility companies," Carpenter said. That is critical, because without that, the firm will not be able to get the financing it needs to build the facility.
Carpenter said the plant will create about 100 construction jobs, and as many as 200 at certain times.
"As for full-time jobs, we are talking about the low 30s, and good paying jobs," Carpenter said.
Mark Mayuga, the economic development consultant for Colusa and point man on the Calmetha project, continues to insist that project is alive and well.
"We are close; we are very close," Mayuga said Tuesday.
Mayuga said the company wants to make sure the quantity of feedstock, also ag waste, is available, and the quality is there for the plant's needs.
"We just want to make sure the people are factual with what they are presenting to us, and crossing all our "Ts" and dotting all our "Is" and running the bottom line, again," Mayuga said.
One of the critical concerns, he said, is the cost of transportation.