A $200,000 state grant will support a new biomass-fueled power plant near Stevenson expected to be operational next year, Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday. The money will go to Wind River Biomass Utility, which has pursued the project will local, state and federal partners.
“Enabling clean, renewable heat and power generation from forest biomass not only creates jobs and economic activity in our timber-dependent communities, it supports our efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase treatment of our local forested lands for health and fire reduction,” Inslee said in a statement. The announcement came during the governor’s swing through the area.
The facility would generate energy from forest biomass — for example, the wood debris left over from timber harvesting, thinning and treatments.
Studies have shown the plant could be built along with a greenhouse and nursery business, according to the governor’s office. The heat and power generated by the facility would serve the site itself, and surplus power could be sold to the Skamania County PUD.
The grant will be paid through the state Department of Commerce’s Forest Products Financial Assistance Program, which is federally funded. The money will be used to purchase equipment for the facility.
The $2 million first phase of the project is expected to operational by next summer, said Paul Spencer, managing partner with Wind River Biomass. The facility’s initial capacity will be a half of a megawatt of electricity, and two to three megawatts of heat equivalent, Spencer said. Future expansion could increase capacity to two megawatts of electricity and five megawatts of heat equivalent, he said.
Most of the material fueling the plant will come from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Spencer said.
Other partners in the project include the Port of Skamania County, the Skamania County PUD and the U.S. Forest Service.