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Biomass Plant Groundbreaking

Biomass Plant Groundbreaking

East Texas Electric Cooperative, of which Sam Houston EC is one of the 10 member cooperatives, hosted a groundbreaking for a new wood-fueled biomass plant located in Woodville on June 26, 2012.

The first of its kind in this area, the plant will diversify ETEC’s sources of generating power as it will produce clean energy by converting wood chips into renewable, carbon-neutral power for member cooperatives.

The plant, which will be built by GEMMA Power Systems, LLC, will have the capability of producing up to 50 megawatts of power and will bring the member cooperatives a step closer to energy independence.

“We are producing a clean energy with a renewable resource so that when we leave, our children and grandchildren will continue to benefit from it,” Woodville Mayor Ben Bythwood said.

Bythwood said that the plant will generate $25 million in the local economy, create 250 construction jobs and 25 permanent jobs. Economic stimulation and job creation will be created outside of the plant as NAPCO, which is locally owned and based in Woodville, will provide the wood chips and other wood material for fuel. Other supporting industries, including logging, transportation, food, fuel and maintenance, will also be positively affected by the economic stimulation.

“This is planning for the future and looking forward to growth in East Texas,” Todd Staples, Texas Commissioner of Agriculture, said. “By building this plant, you are building Texas.”

In addition to ETEC members, Bythwood and Staples, other attendees included: State Representative James White; Jacques Blanchette, Tyler County Judge; Martin Nash, Tyler County Commissioner; and Dan Martin, GEMMA Power Systems, LLC President.

[PHOTO] Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Todd Staples shares his enthusiasm for growth in Texas with the crowd at the ETEC biomass plant groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday, June 26, 2012.