Thursday, December 18, 2008

Green Power EMC's Renewable Energy Agreement Generates Jobs and Electricity

/PRNewswire/ -- Green Power EMC (GPEMC), a partnership of 38 electric membership corporations (EMCs) in Georgia, today announced plans to purchase 17 MW of biomass energy from Multitrade Rabun Gap (MRG), LLC.

The Rabun Gap project will use woody waste as the primary fuel in a conventional boiler for the generation of steam to power a steam turbine electric generator.

The power purchase agreement is part of Green Power EMC's mission to research and deliver renewable energy options from Georgia resources such as biomass, solar, wind and low-impact hydro.

This project is unusual in that it involves several "renewable" resources. The biomass facility will be sited in an already existing power plant in an idled Fruit of the Loom manufacturing facility located in Rabun Gap, Ga. The textile company closed in 2006 resulting in the loss of 900 jobs and a dramatic effect on the economy of the small mountain town, located near the North Carolina border. Putting the power plant back into service creates approximately 20 jobs for people to operate the plant and an additional 75 jobs for people needed to gather and transport biomass to the facility.

"The Rabun Gap project is an example of what we can accomplish when we take a fresh look at our renewable resources and ask 'what are the possibilities?'" says Michael Whiteside, president/CEO of GPEMC. "We will be generating 17 MW of cleaner, greener energy, which on its own has tremendous merit. But when you add the refurbishing of an abandoned plant into a useful facility and the revitalization of a small town economy, the value of this project becomes untold."

MRG, an affiliate of Multitrade Biomass Holdings in Ridgeway, Va., is a special purpose entity formed to construct and operate the 17 MW capacity wood-fueled biomass facility. Multitrade has been active since 1982 in developing alternate energy projects including one of the largest wood-fueled facilities in the world located near Hurt, Va.

The Rabun Gap facility has a significant amount of existing equipment on site, including the boiler, which was previously used to supply steam and electricity to the Fruit of the Loom manufacturing operation. MRG will use native renewable fuel from the local forest industry. When complete, the $21.5 million facility will generate enough energy to meet the needs of approximately 10,000 homes. The plant is expected to become operational by August 2009.

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