East Texas working to go green

President of Aspen Power, Danny Vines
President of Aspen Power, Danny Vines
Aspen Power project under construction
Aspen Power project under construction
Michael Williams, Texas Railroad Commissioner
Michael Williams, Texas Railroad Commissioner

By Whitney Grunder - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – East Texas is working to go green.

The Aspen Power plant construction site is serving as a backdrop for state officials discussing the use of clean energy in Texas.

It's another day working up a sweat in the hot sun, but crews are one day closer to completing the Aspen Power biomass plant.

"That's going to create jobs for Texans. It's going to provide affordable clean, reliable and safe power for Texans," said railroad commissioner Michael Williams, who traveled to East Texas Friday to talk about the importance of this project. "We need to return to nuclear power but we're going to compliment that with a fuel source that's right here in East Texas and that's East Texas timber and East Texas pines."

The vision is that no pines will be left behind.

"There's a whole lot of timber that can provide a whole lot of power to a whole lot of Texans," said Williams.

"All of our lifetimes, we have been allowing about 8.6 billion pounds of logging debris to be slash burned or rot in the woods. This is creating an opportunity to convert that into usable fuel," said Danny Vines, president of Aspen Power.

It's the first merchant scale biomass plant in the state of Texas and because it's so technologically advanced, it's expected it will be the cleanest in the nation.

"You'll not see any smoke originating from the stack of this particular plant," said Vines.

"We're in the process of getting an air permit from the Texas Commission Environmental Quality and we hope to have that within the next month," said director of East Texas Electric Cooperative Edd Hargett.

A growing nation, a growing state, and a growing importance for clean energy here at home, something they say this project will bring to life.

According to Hargett, the plant will begin generating power by the end of 2013 or early 2014.

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