LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) – After more than two years of construction and a series of legal hurdles, the Aspen Power biomass plant is nearing completion with plans to produce power this spring.
"It's been a major construction aspect. We've spent over 100 million dollars at this particular location and we'll have the cleanest burning biomass plant in the nation," said Aspen Power president Danny Vines.
It's also the first of its kind in the state of Texas.
Six years of planning and construction was met with plenty of obstacles including clean air permits and court battles. Now, Vines says he's a couple of months from converting debris into electricity.
"These projects just don't happen overnight. They take a lot of work and a lot of time but it's really good to see. I'll be good when we get the unit online and producing power and supporting the great state of Texas," said Vines.
Once the plant is up and running it will burn about 50 truckloads of fuel a day. That's about two trucks per hour.
Right now the plant is undergoing the final phases of completion.
"We have tested and commissioned all of the high voltage of the plant and are now wrapping up on the final electrical and operating platforms associated with the project," explained Vines.
Once the unit goes online, it will produce carbon neutral emissions lower than any 50-megawatt facility in the country.
"When you watch this plant operate, you'll not see any smoke coming out of the stack. In fact when people drive around on the loop and look they'll say, well the plant must not be operating, but that won't be the case. It's the state of the art emission control equipment that's in place," said Vines.
In May, Vines promises a more diverse energy supply, a healthy environment, and a major boost to the Lufkin economy. He says the plant will create at least 150 long term jobs, and add an estimated 268-million to the local economy during its first ten years of existence.
The commission phase will continue until the plant begins producing power in mid May.