Deal announces $95 million biomass power plant for Laurens County

mstucka@macon.comDecember 6, 2012 

A new biomass power plant announced Thursday is expected to bring hundreds of related jobs and a direct $95 million investment.

A statement from the office of Gov. Nathan Deal said the plant itself will bring 35 permanent jobs to Laurens County. The new biomass power plant, which will be built at an existing paper mill, will provide steam to the mill and also generate 56 megawatts of electricity for the electrical grid, according to the statement.

The investment is being made by Dublin-based Green Power Solutions, which has been working more than 18 months with Beasley Forestry Products and Land Care Services, Deal’s statement said.

The power plant is expected to be the largest renewable energy qualifying facility developed so far in Georgia.

Cal Wray, president of the Dublin-Laurens County Development Authority, told The Telegraph that the power plant will be placed at the SP Fiber Technologies paper mill just outside East Dublin off Ga. 199.

Wray said a host of announcements of biomass-related investments -- including plants in Wilkinson County, Baxley, Lumber City and Sandersville -- are helping the depressed timber industry.

“We’re excited about the opportunity,” Wray said.

Wray said he expected most of the fuel for the new plant will come from north of Appling County, and may include some hardwood waste from Beasley Forestry Products’ plants.

The new Laurens County plant may use as many as 150 construction workers, with work beginning in May and power production starting in 2015.

Deal’s statement said the plant may create as many as 200 additional indirect jobs.

“Georgia is increasingly becoming a go-to location for biomass-based energy ventures, so we are encouraged by Green Power Solutions’ decision to choose Dublin and Laurens County for this innovative renewable energy plant,” Deal said in the statement. “Companies such as Green Power Solutions do well in Georgia due to our plentiful forestry resources and existing workforce trained for this industry.”

Wray said the SP Fiber Technologies paper mill is a heavy user of electricity, and the biomass plant should benefit its bottom line.

To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.

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