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Friday, August 12, 2022

New biomass plant may be built near Gainesville

An environmentally friendly power plant that runs on wood and household waste might be in Gainesville's future.

Gainesville City Commissioners unanimously approved a request for proposals, which asks companies to propose projects to the city. The new biomass plant is expected to be built at the Deerhaven site, north of Gainesville.

The site has a coal plant and a natural gas plant, according to the Gainesville Regional Utilities Web site.

While the commission approved the creation of the plant, they debated about the proposal's language concerning the fuels to be used. The plant may use just biomass, or both biomass, such as wood, and municipal solid waste, which includes household waste and car tires.

Commissioner Jack Donovan suggested at the meeting that the proposal should be amended so there should be a compelling reason to use municipal solid waste. Donovan said the waste might be better used in the city's recycling program.

However, Commissioner Rick Bryant said trying to discourage the use of municipal solid waste might limit the commission's options.

"That's why I think the whole point behind this RFP [request for proposals] is to see what's out there," he said.

The request for proposals was amended to state that if the plant uses municipal solid waste, the fuel must be waste that cannot be "feasibly" recycled.

Coal is not an acceptable fuel type for the plant, according to the document.

The request also outlines that advanced pollution controls must be applied if municipal solid waste is used.

The request for proposals will be issued Oct. 15, and proposals will be due Dec. 14.

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