Biomass Plant to Tap Bull Market for Clean Energy

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - A $60 million project in southern San Diego County to build a 23-megawatt biomass power generation plant is on track to deliver electricity to San Diego Gas & Electric by late next year.

Amanda Martinez, president and chief executive officer of Bull Moose Energy LLC, the 2-year-old company building the plant, says construction is scheduled to begin in November and be complete by February of next year.

“We’ll go through seven months of testing and be in operation by December 2008,” said Martinez, who has four partners: Robert Traylor, Rock Swanson, Don Bunts and retired U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Joe Mobley.

The woman-owned company has four other bids in to get biomass power contracts; one other in California, and one each in Texas, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts. The company is funded through a combination of private, public and institutional equity.

Last June, SDG&E announced a 20-year contract to buy 20 megawatts of biomass electricity from Bull Moose beginning next year. The plant will use three megawatts of power to run itself. A megawatt can provide enough electricity to power about 650 homes.

State mandates on power from renewable resources are among the most aggressive in the country. California power companies are required to supply 20 percent of their customersÂ’ energy from renewable resources by 2010.

As a result, plants powered by biomass, wind, geothermal and solar are in big demand statewide.

“This moves us towards that goal,” said Peter Hidalgo, spokesman for SDG&E.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger added another stipulation to the clean power rule. He signed an executive order requiring 20 percent of the renewable resource energy in the state to come from biomass operations.

In September 2005, SDG&E signed an agreement with Phoenix, Ariz.-based Stirling Energy Systems Inc. to provide 300 megawatts of solar power using solar dishes in the Imperial Valley. That project is ongoing, and has an option to expand to 900 megawatts.

In November, the utility signed up 120 megawatts worth of power production from other solar and geothermal providers.


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