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Burgess BioPower has Dec. turnkey date; Carrier seeks log suppliers

Construction on the Burgess Biopower plant is likely to be substantially complete by years end, allowing Babcock & Wilcox Construction to turn it over to Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth. Photo by Edith Tucker. (click for larger version)
May 01, 2013
BERLIN — Two men that will be involved in the operation of the 75-megwatt Burgess BioPower plant spoke at Friday's 23rd annual Cos Foresters Mud Breakfast: plant manager Dan Heald of Delta Power Services (DPS), LLC, a Houston-Texas-based Babcock and Wilcox subsidiary that has a six-year contract worth over $19 million to provide operations and maintenance (O & M) services; and Jimmy Carrier, representing his father, Richard Carrier, who will procure and supply wood for the plant.

The biomass plant will likely become fully operational during the first quarter of 2014, Heald explained, outlining various milestones that will mark the transition from a plant under construction to one that is fully operational.

The turnkey date when Babcock & Wilcox Construction Co., Inc. (BWCC), that holds the contract to engineer, procure and construct (EPC) the plant, will likely be able to turn the plant over to Cate Street Capital by year's-end, Heald said.

Cate Street Capital's managing director Alex Ritchie confirmed that projected date in a Monday morning telephone interview.

Heald and Jimmy Carrier, president-owner of Richard Carrier Trucking of Skowhegan, Me. (jcarrier@rct1.com), told the 250-plus foresters and other timber industry attendees that wood deliveries at the plant on the city's East Side would total 100 tons per hour, 16 hours a day from Monday through Friday, and 10 hours on Saturday. No deliveries are permitted on Sunday.

Trucks carrying wood chips will back up to three dumping docks.

Although previously the figure 750,000 tons a year has been used to describe the biomass plant's requirements, the number 800,000 tons was used during Friday's discussion.

"We're getting ready to contract with suppliers now," Carrier said.

Licensed forester John Ballew (jballew@rct1.com), also of the Skowhegan, Me., trucking company, accompanied Carrier to the Foresters' Breakfast. Interested logging contractor should contact either one.

Forester Don Tase of Colebrook asked whether the capacity of the so-called Cos loop would be adequate to export the electricity generated. Heald replied that there might be times when its capacity would not be sufficient, requiring the biomass plant to "cycle down," but that that "would be the exception to the rule."

The rail yard at the biomass site is no longer in place, so at the present time there are no plans to bring wood into the plant by rail, Carrier explained. Satellite chipping facilities could be developed in southern New Hampshire and southern Maine.

Carrier anticipates that low-grade chips could be transported from a radius of between 150 and 200 miles, stretching across New Hampshire and into Vermont, New York, and Maine, with some 8 to 10 percent, "if that," possibly coming from Canada.

Return loads substantially change the cost equation of transportation, Carrier explained, noting that he already is hauling product to Old Town, Me., sister plant of the Gorham Paper and Tissue plant in Gorham.

Local wood will be used first, Carrier said, adding, however, that with 800,000 tons a year required for 20 years under their contract, wood from further afield will be needed.

The bubbling fluidized-bed boiler, retrofitted in the 1993 Babcock and Wilcox recovery boiler already on site, operates at about 30 percent efficiency.

Plant developer Cate Street Capital of Portsmouth has land available adjacent to the plant site to develop other industrial uses that could take advantage of the cheap on-site steam and electricity.

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