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California-Based Cogeneration Power Plant Converts from Coal to Biomass

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The converted Mt. Poso cogeneration plant

Mt. Poso Cogeneration Company, a subsidiary of DTE Energy Services (DTEES) and Macpherson Energy, has completed the conversion of cogeneration power plant in Kern County, California from coal to 100% biomass fuel.

The plant is successfully delivering 44 MW of renewable biomass energy to the California power grid. The converted Mt. Poso cogeneration plant currently operates mainly on biomass fuel derived from wood waste such as agricultural sources, tree trimmings and construction waste.

The VP of DTEES, Steve Sorrentino stated that the conversion of Mt. Poso plant enhances DTE Energy’s commitment to clean energy. The plant generates renewable energy at full capacity. The project started in November 2010 and the plant commenced clean power generation in November 2011.

Mt. Poso cogeneration plant uses water, which is supplied from the oil field operated by Macpherson Energy’s subsidiary. The water is heated to produce steam, which is used to drive a turbine generator unit that generates electricity. In addition to delivering renewable electricity, the biomass-fueled power facility will minimize emissions compared to the coal-fired plant.

Mt. Poso cogeneration facility has been awarded a long term contract to sell clean energy to Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E). The facility will support PG&E to meet 33% of renewable energy requirement in California. The New Markets Tax Credits program has helped the conversion project to achieve its full potential.

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