The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) has purchased the entire output of a 55 MW biomass cogeneration plant under construction at a pulp and paper mill in Tacoma, Washington.

The biomass plant will be owned by Simpson Tacoma Kraft Company. Simpson will generate power from a combined heat and power (cogeneration) process that consumes waste wood products to generate steam needed for power production as well as its manufacturing process.

The power will leave the plant from a Tacoma Power interconnection where Iberdrola Renewables will then manage delivery into California. The first power from the plant is expected to be available in July 2009. The company had previously announced that it had acquired the output from the facility to expand its portfolio of clean and renewable resources for utility customers.

‘This clean, renewable biomass energy will help SMUD reach its goal of meeting 23% of our customers’ energy needs with renewable sources by 2011,’ said Steve Sorey, SMUD’s manager of Energy Trading & Contracts.
Simpson’s Energy and Environmental Manager Dave McEntee, said: ‘Simpson is building the cogeneration plant to maximize energy production from our existing operations that already involve burning sawmill and paper mill by-products, wood-building demolition waste and debris from logging.’

The company may also ‘mine’ old lumber mill landfill sites to recycle wood waste buried there years ago.