April 23rd, 2010 | 2:30 pm

Creating Jobs and Energy in Mason County, Washington

By Tom DePonty, Director of Public Affairs, ADAGE

Is there a 21st Century clean energy opportunity stored in our nation’s forest land? In Mason County, Washington, the answer is, “Yes!”

Welcome to Shelton

For over 150 years the communities in Mason County, Wash., have sustainably managed their abundant natural resources for lumber and forestry industries. After harvesting an area, the remaining wood residue goes unused and is left on the ground or pushed into “slash piles” and burned according to current forest management practices.

We have another idea.

ADAGE LLC, a bioenergy joint venture between AREVA and Duke Energy, would like to take that clean wood residue and convert it into electricity with a modern biomass power plant. The new plant will create more than 750 direct and indirect jobs during construction, 200+ direct and indirect jobs during operation, and 55 megawatts of electricity.

And this is not your grandfather’s biomass plant. The proposed modern facility is the difference between an old four-cylinder clunker and a new hybrid vehicle. This plant brings together the best available technology at every step of the process, from John Deere’s new low-impact bundler and the facility’s high efficiency boiler to the advanced emission controls and the water conservation processes.

For example, this power plant will produce some of the lowest emission rates of any biomass project in the U.S. and is equipped with a real-time continuous emissions monitoring system (CEMs) to ensure the plant operates well within all state and federal air quality standards.

Another benefit is the need for sustainable forest management to provide fuel for the plant. The proposed plant only runs on clean wood biomass collected after forestry operations thin or harvest the mature trees. The Washington State University Biomass Inventory estimates 2.4 million green tons of clean woody biomass are produced each year in Mason County and nearby Grays Harbor County. The ADAGE biomass plant would convert 600,000 green tons per year of this material into electricity.

So what was once an unused resource, I now see as an opportunity for Mason County to be a leader in the renewable energy industry, while protecting public health and creating jobs through modern clean energy processes.

I enjoyed speaking with the residents that attended our two Open Houses in Shelton, Wash., earlier this month and look forward to continuing the conversation and working together on this project. Comment here on the blog or send an email to [email protected].

  • Justin Stang

    when do you plan to visit shelton again to address the growing concerns of the people here? we'd love a discussion!

  • arevainc

    “Thanks for your comment. I'm in and out of Shelton on a regular basis. We're scheduling more public events to continue the conversation. Hopefully, we'll have an opportunity to speak then. Did you have a specific concern I should be sure to address?”
    -Tom DePonty

  • Rlc1212

    Great to see that some are thinking outside of the box, with todays available equipment and energy research and developement. Your wood burning fire place will put out more pollutants than this new Biomass generating plant.
    ADAGE, a JV of AREVA, and Duke, your lucky to have those two major energy producers coming to your community. I have work around both of these companies in my 37 years in the Boiler erection and repair business, they are here for the long haul, and will be great partners again for your community. In fact if they would like, I am sure folks in Clark county would be pleased to have a plant project sited here in the Vancouver area.

  • Doa

    When I asked, Adage reps told me NO further open meetings other than the ORCCA and SEPA hearings were planned. If I'm mistaken or heard wrong, the state when and where such an open forum where Adage reps would field unselected/unfiltered questions will occur?

  • arevainc

    As you mention, the approval process for the biopower plant has advanced to the ORCAA (Olympic Region Clean Air Agency) and SEPA (State Environmental Protection Act)reviews, where there will be more opportunity for open discussion. We're open for you to come by anytime before then and personally discuss your questions with us at our office in Shelton: 1620 Olympic Hwy N., Shelton, or call (360) 426-4900. You can also view and download copies of our regulatory applications and other documents from the Web site: http://adagebiopower.com/washington/home/adage-