Aspen Power biomass plant to re-start operations soon

Aspen Power plant in Lufkin (Source: KTRE Staff)
Aspen Power plant in Lufkin (Source: KTRE Staff)

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Aspen Power plant has been shut down since September 2012, but it could soon be back up and running. An Angelina County judge gave the OK for the plant's trustee to re-commence operations at the biomass facility earlier this week.

For more than a year, all has been quiet and dark at Aspen Power, but the turbines at the Lufkin biomass plant could soon be powering up again.

Monday, U.S. Bank, which is the financial overseer for the project, filed a motion for an order authorizing their advisor, InventivEnergy, to restart and oversee the operation of Aspen Power while the property is for sale.

Lufkin deputy city manager, Keith Wright said, "What they're telling us is they want the plant operating so they can market it for sale."

According to court documents, a major reason behind re-starting operations is so the trustee can demonstrate the commercial viability of the plant. In the motion, U.S. Bank says potential purchasers have expressed concerns about the plant because of the lack of operating history.  

Another reason U.S. Bank (trustee) gives for wanting to power up would be to help off-set the costs of managing and securing the facility.

Wright said having Aspen Power running is nothing but positive for the city's economy.

"With the plant operating they're going to employ about 26 employees at the plant which will affect our local economy. Also it will impact the fuel side…and that'll be another 80 to 90 people employed," Wright said. "The best thing for the city and the county is that this plant gets up. It's owned by a company who has the capital to operate it during those peak times so they can make money at it"

The day-to-day operations at the plant are expected to be operated by NRG Energy Services out of Houston.

Basically, U.S. Bank wants the plant operational to build a performance history for the facility, so they have data to market to potential buyers that will likely increase the amount buyers are willing to pay.

Copyright 2014 KTRE. All rights reserved.