Gainesville Renewable Energy says 100-MW woody biomass power plant under construction in Gainesville, Florida, will not harm local waterways; company will largely meet 1.4 million gallons/day need with reclaimed water

LOS ANGELES , December 5, 2011 () – A 100-megawatt woody biomass power plant under construction in Gainesville, Florida, will need 1.4 million gallons a day of water, but reclaimed water will be used as much as possible, according to a company executive, reported The Gainesville Sun on Dec. 4.

A large amount of the city of Alachua’s reclaimed wastewater will be pumped to the privately-owned Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC), where it will be filtered and pumped to the plant’s cooling tower, which will also get water from the aquifer.

An estimated 600,000 gallons/day will come from Alachua, with the remaining 800,000 gallons/day coming from the aquifer, said Josh Levine, GREC’s project manager. He said the plant will not cause “any harm on the waterways,” The Gainesville Sun reported.

A two-mile pipeline is being built to carry the reclaimed water to the plant, which is being constructed at Gainesville’s Deerhaven Generating Station. The station uses about 2.5 million gallons/day of water to produce 410.1 megawatts of power in its coal- and natural-gas fired units, according to Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU).

Levine said the Suwanee River Water Management District required that the GREC plant use the maximum amount of reclaimed water,  reported The Gainesville Sun.

District officials found that the plant’s water use will not lower surrounding waterways below their minimum flow and depth levels, according to Kevin Wright, a district engineer who worked on GREC’s permit.

As part of the permitting process, the amount of water that GRU can use at its Deerhaven generating station was reduced by 1.4 million gallons as an offset to the increase in water needed by GREC’s plant, said Wright.

Earlier this year, the Jacksonville Electric Authority was issued a permit to allow it to pump one-third more water from the aquifer over the next 20 years, drawing protests from some area residents, The Gainesville Sun reported.

GREC is a subsidiary of Boston-based America Renewables LLC and is expected to open in late 2013, according to a July 18 report in The Gainesville Sun.

The primary sources of this article are The Gainesville Sun, Gainesville, Florida, on Dec. 4, 2011, and Industry Intelligence archives.

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