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NOVEC launches biomass power plant in South Boston, Va.

November 18, 2013

Contact: NOVEC Public Relations, 1-888-335-0500, customerservice@novec.com

NORTHERN VIRGINIA – Northern Virginia Electric Cooperative, its development partner, NOVI Energy, and approximately 150 federal, Virginia state, and local officials, and guests celebrated the grand opening of the NOVEC Energy Production Halifax County Biomass plant in South Boston, Va., on Nov. 14, 2013.

The $178 million renewable-energy power plant, which can generate up to 49.9 megawatts of electricity, burns wood chips for fuel. The plant is capable of providing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 16,000 NOVEC homes, but all of the Cooperative’s 150,000 customers will share in “green” power distribution. 

Environmentally Friendly

“Virginia doesn’t have renewable-energy mandates, but as good stewards of the environment we had been looking for ways to add more green electricity to our power mix,” said NOVEC President and CEO Stan Feuerberg at a luncheon at The Prizery in South Boston. “In 2010, NOVEC’s board of directors gave us the go-ahead to start building a biomass plant. We chose Halifax County as the location because it’s in the ‘wood basket’ of Virginia. We realized that its thousands of forested acres could supply us with enough waste wood leftover from logging operations to fuel our plant for decades.”

Feuerberg said burning waste wood, typically left in forests to decay, adds no new source of contaminates to the environment. Unlike coal-burning power plants, biomass plants do not emit mercury and sulfur into the air. Furthermore, he noted that the plant is cooled in a closed loop primarily with water reclaimed from a nearby wastewater treatment facility. Using reclaimed water, he said, will significantly reduce the need for potable water over the life of the plant.

“Because of all these environmental attributes, we’ve had no environmental opposition,” Feuerberg said. “That’s rare for a power plant.”

Spurring Economic Development

Feuerberg said, “We contributed more than $1.8 million in Virginia sales and use taxes during plant construction for Halifax and the Commonwealth, and the plant will add up to $600,000 in new property tax revenue. The project involved more than 500 construction workers. The 26 full-time positions at the plant will have an annual payroll in excess of $1.5 million. New jobs are also being created in the timber and transportation sectors to fuel the plant.” 

NOVI Energy began developing the project with NOVEC in 2010. Anand Gangadharan, NOVI Energy president, said, “I believe this plant will be a productive asset for both the South Boston community and NOVEC’s customers for years to come.” 

Jim Cheng, Virginia secretary of commerce and trade, noted “the foresight” of business leaders and “great teamwork” among state, local and federal governments, the Halifax region, and NOVEC. He thanked NOVEC for creating jobs. He said Virginia is a pro-business state, and low-energy costs help to make the Commonwealth one of the best states in the nation for doing business. Cheng said, “This biomass plant will be a wonderful addition to not only NOVEC customers, but to the entire state. …It’s a win-win for the economy and the environment.”  

Thomas West, Halifax County Board of Supervisors chairman, said, “I’d like to thank NOVEC for choosing Halifax and for bringing jobs.”  

Ed Owens, South Boston mayor, said, “This project hit the mark. The people wanted it and needed it. The process of economic development moves slowly, but the fruits are great.” John Padalino, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Utilities Service administrator said, “This is rural America working together for economic development.”  

Sheldon Petersen, National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation CEO said the biomass plant is an example of “Virginia resources being used for the benefit of Virginians.”

Thomas Halverson, CoBank chief banking officer, said, “NOVEC is living up to its tagline, ‘Powering a New Generation.’”  

About NOVI Energy

NOVI Energy is a Michigan-based entrepreneurial company that provides a broad range of services in energy consulting, management, and infrastructure project development for utility, industrial, institutional and commercial companies across the United States and the world. For more information, visit www.novienergy.com.

About NOVEC

NOVEC, headquartered in Manassas, Virginia, is a not-for-profit electric utility corporation that supplies and distributes electricity and energy-related services to approximately 160,000 metered customers in Fairfax, Fauquier, Loudoun, Prince William, Stafford, and Clarke counties, the Town of Clifton, and the City of Manassas Park. It is one of the largest electric companies of its kind in the nation.  For more information, visit www.novec.com or call 703-335-0500 or 1-888-335-0500.

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