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Aspen Power biomass plant near Lufkin should come online by Aug. 1

Aspen Power biomass plant near Lufkin should come online by Aug. 1
Lufkin Daily News
Monday, July 25, 2011 - 9:10am

The Aspen Power biomass plant should be ready for energy generation Aug. 1, according to president Danny Vines.

“We’re starting steam blows Monday, and those will run for three to five days to clean out the paths so we have clean steam,” Vines said this past week.

Construction on the plant began in 2008.

For months Vines claimed the opening would be forthcoming, according to multiple Lufkin Daily News articles.

In December 2009, when construction ramped back up after the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality reissued the plant’s air quality permit, Vines said they would be online in October 2010.

More recently, the start date was pushed from January to March, then to May, then late June, then mid-July.

“It’s all the little nuances,” Vines said this past week. “It’s like when you’re building a house; when you get to that last 1 percent of work, it takes a long time to finish. Multiply that by a thousand.”

Vines said this most recent delay is not because of issues with complaints regarding wastewater temperatures and the possible effect on local bodies of water.

A complaint was filed with the TCEQ by a private landowner claiming the wastewater would enter Ellen Trout Lake and elevate the ambient temperature, according to a previous story.

The complaint stated the higher temperature could adversely affect the ecosystem in the lake and the surrounding property, though the water would travel over half a mile before reaching the lake, so it would have time to reach ambient temperature before joining the lake water.

Another concern is that the wastewater poses a threat for hazardous chemicals to make their way into Ellen Trout Lake.

Vines’ attorney Robin Morse said in a June 2011 article the wastewater is used only for cooling and doesn’t come into contact with harmful chemicals.

The plant will conduct steam blasts for a few days, then shut machinery down for a couple days, Vines said, before introducing steam to the turbine to generate power.

Read the full story here.

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