Santee Cooper adds biomass to mix

The Santee Cooper Board of Directors approved contracts with W2E-Organic Power and BioEnergy Technologies for 3.2 MW of electricity generated from anaerobic digestion of renewable resources.

In the first project, W2E–Organic Power has received its state environmental permit and plans to build a 1.6 MW generating station in Columbia, S.C. that will use biogas from food waste, grease and yard waste. W2E–Organic Power plans to transmit the electricity to Santee Cooper’s transmission grid.

In the second project, BioEnergy Technologies will use pre-consumer food waste, grease, food processing waste and wastewater sludge to generate 1.6 MW of renewable electricity. BioEnergy Technologies will deliver the electricity to Santee Cooper through Berkeley Electric Co-op’s distribution system.

Both contracts are for 20 years and together take Santee Cooper’s total renewable generation to 187 MW online or under contract. The generation mix includes landfill biogas, solar energy, wind energy, woody biomass and anaerobic digestion. The biggest source is forest waste and other woody biomass, with online and contracted generation totaling 154 MW.

Anaerobic digestion captures methane gas produced through decomposing organic materials in an airtight container and uses that methane gas to generate electricity.

In September 2010, Santee Cooper announced plans to buy 95 MW of biomass power in the state. The company’s Board of Directors approved a 15-year power purchase agreement for 50 MW of power from the Domtar Paper Co., and a 30-year PPA for power from three 15 MW biomass power plants owned by Southeast Renewable Energy.

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