Nacogdoches biomass plant reaching deal with Austin's power company - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Nacogdoches biomass plant reaching deal with Austin's power company

By Donna McCollum

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Waste wood is the commodity Tony Callendrello watches closely. The CEO of Nacogdoches Power LLC is an Austin city council vote away from selling biomass power to Austin Energy for 388,000 Austin residents. Callendrello said, " This project is one that will provide employment for hundreds of Texans while enhancing energy independence, hoping to stabilize electric costs and improving the environment and address climate change. "

Nacogdoches Power LLC would build and run the plant on property near Cushing and Sacul. Austin would buy all the power. The price tag ... $2.3 billion over the next twenty years for fuel and operating expenses. Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation (NEDCO) president Stan Sisco explained,  " With the amount of capital involved in this type of project, to get that type project financed, you're gonna have to have our product pre-sold before you'll bring the financiers into play. "  

In just about every city and town across East Texas you'll find timber being used for some sort of product. Now that biomass waste from those products is becoming a hot commodity. Callendrello commented,  " West Texas has the wind and East Texas has the trees and I think if Austin Energy wanted to be involved in biomass it would really need to look to East Texas to do that. "

State Representative Wayne Christian is attempting to build that customer base by seeking financial incentives for biomass power. Christian said,  " We have given all kinds of incentives for wind generation for the Panhandle folks and for T. Boone Pickens and crowd, so it's only fair that we get some incentives for our biomass. " Those incentives are important, but not as critical to Nacogdoches Power LLC's future, now that Austin Energy has shown interest. On August 7th the Austin city council will vote on Austin Energy's proposal. The director and president of the NEDCO and Nacogdoches County Judge Joe English will be attending the meeting.

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