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DOE, Ameresco Start Waste-to-Energy Plant in S.C. (with video)

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Ameresco Inc. have launched a waste-to-energy facility in South Carolina.

The DOE and the Framingham, Mass.-based energy company are starting up a $795 million biomass facility at the Savannah River Site (SRS), a former nuclear materials operation along the Savannah River near Augusta, Ga.

The 34-acre SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility will use local forest residue and wood chips to generate renewable energy. The facility has the capacity to process 385,000 tons of forest residue and generate 20 megawatts of energy annually. Bio-derived fuels will be the primary fuel source for the operation. It is expected to employ about 25, according to a news release.

The project is the largest renewable energy savings performance contract in U.S. history, Ameresco said. The new facility replaces an old coal powerhouse, took 30 months to create and is expected to save close to $1 billion in energy and operational costs over the life of its 20-year contract.

DOE agreed to work with Ameresco in 2009 to finance, design, construct, operate, maintain and fuel the biomass facility.

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