Rentech receives development order from local officials to build US$220M, 55-MW woody biomass power plant in Port St. Joe, Florida, but barred from using non-native, invasive species, expects to get financing soon

LOS ANGELES , October 6, 2011 () – Rentech Inc.’s 55-megawatt woody biomass power project in Port St. Joe, Florida, cleared the final regulatory hurdle on Tuesday when the Port St. Joe commissioners unanimously approved a development order, reported The News Herald on Oct. 5.

The only thing standing in the way of starting construction on the Northwest Florida Renewable Energy Center is financing, which the company said it expects to secure soon.

In the development order, Rentech is barred from using any non-native, invasive species for feedstock. This particularly applies to Arundo donax, a fast-growing grass that had been planted in the north end of the county, but initial plantings were eradicated months ago, according to White Construction.

Rentech has “no intentions” of using Arundo donax and will instead fuel the plant with woody biomass from forest residue left after logging operations, said a company spokesperson, The News Herald reported.

After the U.S. Dept. of Energy put a hold on the US$220-million project’s pending loan guarantee months ago, Rentech officials have explored private-market financing.

Opponents of the project have objected to various aspects of the plans, including using any public money, as well as worries about environmental impacts.

The plant, which will be the first commercial-scale application of Rentech’s SilvaGas technology, will directly employ about 25 workers and create another 100 indirect jobs in the timber industry, reported The News Herald.

The primary source of this article is The News Herald, Panama City, Florida, on Oct. 5, 2011.

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