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Biomass plant draws raves

South Boston NewsSouth Boston News
Officials cut the ribbon at the new Halifax County Biomass Plant
SoVaNow.com / November 14, 2013
Members of the Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative (NOVEC) traveled to South Boston Thursday to celebrate the opening of the rural cooperative's first solely-owned power generation facility, the Halifax County Biomass Plant.

The $178 million project will produce 49.9 megawatts of power, enough to light up 16,000 homes in NOVEC's service area of Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince William and Stafford counties.

Mike Curtis of NOVEC called the plant's startup "a historic day" and Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng, subbing for absent Lt. Governor Bill Bolling, proclaimed the wood-burning facility "a wonderful, wonderful addition" to Virginia's renewable energy portfolio.

Speaking on behalf of the county, Board of Supervisors Chairman Tom West said the biomass plant "is a perfect fit. Northern Virginia needs power, Halifax County needs the tax base and the jobs."

Speakers at a luncheon program at The Prizery hailed the plant's environmentally-friendly, carbon neutral design. They noted that the biomass plant will be fueled largely with wood slash that, absent a market for the waste product, would otherwise lie in fields across Southside. Left to rot, the wood would gradually decay and release methane into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

The plant also uses graywater effluent that otherwise would go back into the environment.

NOVEC President Stan Feuerberg praised the "beauty of the closed loop design" that makes the plant environmentally friendly. When it came time to gain permits for the project, he noted, not a single environmental interest spoke out against it.

"When's the last time you heard of a power plant with no opposition?" he told the invited audience at The Prizery.

Following remarks by a parade of speakers — company officials, local, state and federal representatives, and others in private industry — the crowd on hand moved to the Plywood Drive plant site for a ceremonial ribbon cutting and tours of the facility.

This story will be updated.

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"the biomass plant will be fueled largely with". What does largely mean? How safe is the smally?


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