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Aspen Power near Lufkin expected to generate power this week

Aspen Power near Lufkin expected to generate power this week
Lufkin Daily News
Tuesday, August 2, 2011 - 9:19am

The much-anticipated Aspen Power plant should begin generating power this week, according to the company’s president.

Danny Vines said Monday the company has completed the required steam blows at the North Lufkin facility, and the turbine began turning this week. He expects to generate power within the next few days through the means of woody biomass already being stockpiled at the facility on Kurth Drive.

Vines expressed relief after months of delays and litigation.

“It’s hard to put it into words,” Vines said. “It’s been a long-fought battle. We are charging the generator with hydrogen and doing some final air tests. Finishing the calibrations, that’s all we lack.”

However, there is still litigation concerning Aspen Power.

The most recent legal situation facing Vines pertains to where the wastewater from the plant will end up. An initial Texas Commission on Environmental Quality permit allowed for the water to be released from Aspen’s cooling tower into Mill Creek.

The Angelina & Neches River Authority wrote a letter to TCEQ stating the company’s wastewater would actually improve the quality of Mill Creek, Vines said.

But a private landowner filed a complaint with TCEQ arguing the water could have damaging effects to the area. Vines said that landowner asked to be paid a $200,000 a year flowage easement in order to flow the water through a natural creek on the property.

Vines said he could literally take a glass of water from the cooling tower and drink it. He ultimately believes the issue comes down to money, he said.

Read the full story here.

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