Construction Begins on Nevada Biomass Plant
(10/24/2006)

CARSON CITY, Nev. — Construction has started on a new power plant that is expected to significantly decrease the amount of money spent on utilities at Northern Nevada Correction Center.

The $6.5 million wood-fired plant is expected to eliminate three-quarters of the facility’s energy needs from outside sources, which will reduce the amount of electricity and natural gas bought from Sierra Pacific Power Co.

Officials project that the plant will reduce the facility’s $2 million annual utilities costs to about $700,000.

The plant from APS Energy Services will burn wood chips from area forests, which have enough biomass to provide energy for several decades, according to reports. In addition to initial construction costs, the prison will pay $1.78 per million Btus of thermal energy for the wood chips. The prison currently pays $11.90 per million Btus for natural gas.

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Despite concerns from neighbors, prison officials say the new plant will not affect air quality in the area.

The heat and power plant will be the first of its kind in Nevada, according to APS. The company plans to have three hot water boilers and one steam boiler in operation by April. The boilers are about 20 feet high and 80 square feet.

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