Coal-Fired Calif. Power Plant Approved to Convert to Biomass Fuels

DTE Energy Services Inc. recently received approval from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District to convert an existing coal-fired power plant at the Port of Stockton to operate on biomass fuel.

The plant, known as the Port of Stockton District Energy Facility (POSDEF), will be converted to burn 100 percent biomass fuel, primarily wood fuel derived from urban wood waste, tree trimmings and agricultural residues. It will produce about 45 megawatts of power.

DTEES has completed a similar biomass conversion in Cassville, Wis., and has another under way in Bakersfield, Calif. The company also operates biomass power plants in Woodland, Calif., and Mobile, Ala.

"We are excited to move this project forward," said Steve Sorrentino, vice president of DTEES. "The plant conversion to biomass energy advances DTE Energy's commitment to green energy.  It will ensure a reliable source of energy with state-of-the art-technologies to preserve the environment.  Most importantly, the project will bring hundreds of jobs to the Stockton area."

The conversion will employ approximately 100 construction workers at its peak. Approximately 50 employees and contract personnel will be needed to operate and maintain the plant when the conversion is complete. In addition, the project will create more than 100 additional jobs through agreements with fuel suppliers and other companies that will provide services to the plant.

POSDEF began operation in 1989 as a coal-fired power plant and ceased operation in April 2009.  DTEES purchased the plant in June 2010 with plans to convert the plant.  During the construction phase, DTEES will replace the boiler and employ the best available control technologies to minimize air emissions.

Following the conversion, the plant will provide power to PG&E under a long-term renewable power purchase agreement. The plant will help PG&E meet California's 33-percent renewable power requirement.

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