[NEWS] California Biomass Energy Facility Uses 70% of Area Water
– by Bill Houston, April 27, 2016, Times News Standard
The DG Fairhaven biomass power plant is expected to restart operations by noon on Thursday after being closed for the longest period since first powering up in 1987, according to DG Fairhaven Power LLC General Manager Bob Marino.
“This is the longest period of being shut down in the plant’s history,” Marino said.
The Samoa-based power plant ceased operations on Jan. 4 after a significant portion of its revenue was cut following the expiration of an amendment to its power purchase agreement with PG&E, he said.
PG&E spokeswoman Megan McFarland said in an interview with the Times-Standard that PG&E would not discuss the specifics of the power purchase agreement, stating they are confidential.
The biomass power plant generates 18 megawatts which is supplied to PG&E through an energy purchase agreement first signed in 1984.
A 2011 amendment to the agreement provided more revenue to DG Fairhaven Power LLC, Marino said.
But after the amendment expired on Jan. 3, the power contract reverted back to the 1984 agreement, which Marino said resulted in a “significant” reduction in revenues.
“It was not economically feasible during the winter months to operate the plant,” Marino said, also stating that he would not disclose the specific dollar amount.
The 22 power plant employees were not out of a job during this time, Marino said, but were able to perform maintenance while the plant sat idle for nearly four months.
The plant’s closure was also evident in the state’s water conservation data, which showed a 70 percent reduction in February water use in the Samoa area. The power plant makes up the vast majority of water consumption in the Samoa area.