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Renewable energy company plans facility near Milltown

Renewable energy company plans facility near Milltown
Renewable energy company plans facility near Milltown
Terrance Naulty of Elizabeth, one of four partners in the company, tells the Crawford County Board of Commissioners, details about the plant, which will directly employ 25 full-time employees, with annual salaries between $40,000 and $50,000. Another 130-plus indirect jobs related to fuel logistics will be possible.

On the day it was announced that the Consumer Confidence Index was at an all-time low, another indicator that the national economy is ailing, Crawford County, however, received more than a bit of good economic news.
Liberty Green Renewables LLC, with ties to neighboring Harrison County, announced at yesterday morning’s Crawford County Board of Commissioners’ meeting in English plans to develop an $80-million, 28-megawatt biomass-to-electricity facility north of Milltown.
To be located on 110 acres west of the Duke Energy substation just north of the S.R. 64/S.R. 66 intersection, the facility, expected to begin operation in late 2011, will directly employ 25 full-time employees, including operators, chemists and managers, with annual salaries between $40,000 and $50,000, with another 130-plus indirect jobs related to fuel logistics possible.
‘We think there is adequate labor in the area … to support the jobs,’ Terrance Naulty, a partner in the company, said, explaining there will be jobs available for all types of education levels.
Naulty, who is from Elizabeth, and Larry Ott, of Georgetown, told the commissioners they and their two partners, both from Houston, believe the area, with its reliance on forest product industries, is an ideal location for such a facility.
The plant will annually process 250,000 tons of woody biomass material, including residue from logging, sawmill, furniture and cabinet manufacturing, land manufacturing and other forest-related businesses, into electricity that will be sold to an energy supplier.
‘We anticipate storing about 30 days of fuel on-site,’ Ott said.
The facility will utilize a fluidized bed boiler technology to enable utilization of a wide variety of woody biomass materials in an efficient, environmentally friendly manner. Biomass is considered ‘carbon neutral’ in regards to greenhouse gas emissions, allowing the plant to qualify for renewable energy credits and production tax credits.
The company has already negotiated a letter of intent with a local utility to purchase the entire electrical output as well as the renewable energy credits and other environmental attributes.
In addition to acquiring the necessary environmental permits, the company must find an adequate water supply, as Blue River Regional Water District, which serves the area, doesn’t have enough capacity, Ott said. The company, he said, is working with Blue River and other area water companies to find a solution.
‘I’m rather optimistic about that. I think that can come together,’ District 3 Commissioner Jim Schultz, a board member for the Crawford County Water Co., said. (Board of Commissioners President Larry Bye also is a member of that board.)
Following their presentation, Naulty said the company, which is only a year old but is already developing five other facilities throughout the Midwest, was drawn to Crawford County because of its proximity to woody biomass and the likelihood it can attain New Markets Tax Credits, which would provide about $10 million of the needed capital.
Crawford County Economic Development Director Don DuBois, who was publicly praised by Naulty and Ott for his efforts, said New Markets Tax Credits are a federal program that allows low-interest lending in economically-depressed areas like Crawford County.
Ott said tax abatements offered by the county also played a key part in helping lure the facility to Crawford County.
‘Without the abatements, our project likely would not be viable in Crawford County,’ he said.
Construction of the facility, which cannot begin until engineering is complete and required permits are attained, is expected to take 15 to 18 months and require more than 100 skilled workers.