Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC)
American Renewables is developing a 100-MW wood-fired biomass electric generating project outside of Gainesville, FL on a site approximately eight miles northwest of downtown Gainesville. The GREC site is adjacent to an existing coal power generation facility.
Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU), the municipal utility serving the City of Gainesville, has entered into a power purchase agreement for all of the power, capacity and environmental attributes produced from GREC for a 30-year period. GRU is a AA-rated electric, natural gas, water, wastewater and telecommunications utility which serves approximately 92,000 customers in the City of Gainesville and parts of the surrounding region.
The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center will consist of:
- a wood fuel handling system,
- a bubbling fluidized bed boiler,
- a condensing steam turbine generator with an evaporative cooling tower and
- auxiliary support equipment.
The project will use advanced combustion technology and the latest in boiler and emissions control technology to achieve best available emissions.
Currently, GREC has a long-term lease for approximately 130 acres adjacent to GRU's existing Deerhaven facility. GREC has been approved for its application of need by the Florida Public Service Commission and has received recommendations of approval for its power plant certification from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and other relevant local, regional and state agencies.
The project will be fueled by biomass, including:
- forest residue from the surrounding, heavily wooded areas of northern Florida,
- wood processing residues and
- clean municipal wood waste.
The project will require approximately one million tons of fuel annually, sourced within a 75-mile radius of the project site. This area encompasses more than 5.5 million acres of timberland. A comprehensive fuel study by an independent forestry consultant has confirmed that fuel resources within this radius are more than adequate to fuel the project.
GREC also supports local businesses and encourages investment in surrounding communities. The dollars spent on GREC's biomass fuel stay in the local, state and regional economies since GREC will use fuel sources within 75 miles of the plant. GREC will also increase the local tax base. During peak construction, GREC will create approximately 700 construction jobs. Once operational, the facility will create approximately 45 full-time positions at the site, and will also generate approximately 700 jobs throughout the region. The project is anticipated to be commercially operational in late 2013.
Forest stewardship is an important part of GREC's fuel-sourcing goals. GREC will comply with the Florida Division of Forestry Best Management Practices, and has agreed to additional standards to foster improved nutrient retention and overall forest health. GRU will implement a forest stewardship incentive program in which biomass growers will receive a bonus payment for going above and beyond prevailing forestry practices.
Forest Sustainability Fact Sheet (PDF)