Spanish co. to build bioenergy plant

Spanish company Iberdrola has won the contract to begin construction of the Fort St. James and Merritt biomass energy plants.

Spanish company Iberdrola has won the contract to begin construction of the Fort St. James and Merritt biomass energy plants.

The contracts are worth nearly $345 million and were awarded in an international tender of the projects by Fengate Capital.

The Fort St. James project is expected to begin construction this month, while the Merritt project is expected to start construction in February of 2014, according to reNews online and Iberdrola will be constructing the power plants, the power lines and two power substations for the projects.

Western BioEnergy Incorporated gained approval for the two biomass plants in August of 2011, but has been stalled while trying to secure financing for the construction.

Both the Merritt and Fort St. James projects will produce about 40 megawatts of electricity, and use wood waste which would otherwise be left in the bush, or burned in piles.

The Fort St. James biomass power plant would be located 6.3 km north of town, across from the Apollo mill on a small 3.5 hectare site.The Fort plant would be an estimated investment of $140 million, with approximately 80 employed during construction and 16 employed directly while the plant is in operation, as well as local contractors required for some aspects of the plant maintenance.

The project has a lifespan of 30 years, but could be operated as long as it is maintained and viable.