Biomass CHP Plant Steams Ahead

A 25 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant fueled by excess wood waste is now in full operation and offsetting local coal-fired electricity for downtown St. Paul buildings. The plant, under construction since September 2001, has been operating in test mode since mid-February and is now providing electricity to Xcel Energy and hot water to District Energy.

St. Paul, Minnesota – May 29, 2003 [] The privately-financed facility is owned and operated by St. Paul Cogeneration, a company formed by Trigen-Cinergy Solutions of St. Paul, LLC and Market Street Energy Company, LLC an affiliate of District Energy St. Paul, Inc. Cinergy Solutions, Inc., responsible for the design and construction of the facility, built the biomass-based combined heat and power plant in less than 18 months. “As biomass is an important and developing part of Xcel Energy’s supply portfolio, we are pleased to have this new plant providing electricity to our power grid,” said David Eves, Vice President of Resource Planning and Acquisition for Xcel Energy. “This plant represents an important component in our continuing efforts to expand and diversify our energy production through the use of renewable resources.” The new plant sequentially produces heat and electricity, making it more than twice as efficient as plants that only generate electricity. It is fueled primarily by clean wood waste, a plentiful, renewable local resource. Projected to burn 280,000 tons of wood waste annually, it will be the largest wood-fired combined heat and power plant supplying a district energy system in the United States. “This plant will provide significant economic and environmental benefits for businesses and residents throughout our region,” said Anders Rydaker, President of Market Street Energy Company. “It will reduce District Energy’s reliance on coal by 80 percent, reduce soot emissions by 50 percent, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 280,000 tons per year. The new plant will also help the community solve a wood waste disposal problem.” Xcel Energy will purchase 25 MW of electricity produced at the plant, enough energy to supply approximately 20,000 homes. In addition, efficient thermal energy will supply approximately 80 percent of the annual needs for the District Energy system, which is currently fueled primarily by coal. District Energy provides heating and cooling services to the majority of buildings in the downtown St. Paul area.
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