Sunday, January 24, 2010

Spiritwood Coal Plant Update

Construction on the Great River Energy coal-fired electricity plant near Spiritwood should be completed by mid-March, according to an Associated Press story out today. Officials say the plant, located 12 miles east of Jamestown, should be online by the end of the year.

The 64-megawatt plant is being built next to a malt processing plant owned by Cargill, Inc. The waste water from the Cargill plant will be recycled by the Great River plant, which will in turn use waste steam to create electricity and heat for the Cargill complex.

Waste steam was also going to power a new facility designed to convert wheat straw and other crop waste into ethanol and solid fuel pellets intended to augment coal as a fuel for firing the power plant. Plans for that component of the Spiritwood complex have been put on hold, however, after grant funding was denied and a partner in the project withdrew.

The biofuels plant was originally a partnership between Great River Energy, Minnesota-based Otaka Energy and a Danish company, Inbicon A/S, which holds rights to the proprietary biofuels technology chosen for the Spiritwood project. Otaka was reportedly seeking a $35.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to help fund the construction of the facility. According to today's AP article, that funding was denied last November and Otaka withdrew from the project in early January.

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