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Study: Plant to create 192 jobs
Biomass facility would be built near Klamath Falls
A proposed biomass plant near Klamath Falls would create about 190 permanent jobs, far more than initial estimates, according to a study authorized by the developer.
Northwest Energy Systems Co. officials last month asked a Portland-based forest product consulting organization, The Beck Group, to study the plant’s economic impact on the Klamath Falls community.The Beck Group found the plant would create about 329 construction-related jobs in the year it is built, and 192 permanent jobs once it is complete. Initial job estimates for the project were 175 construction jobs and 30 fulltime positions.
Bruce Thompson, vice president of NESCO, called the study’s numbers “staggering,” and hoped the findings would garner additional support for the project.“We are very encouraged. We didn’t really know what kind of economic impact the facility would have as far as payroll taxes and indirect spending,” he said.
The Beck Group report also found plant construction would require the purchase of $12 million in local equipment, and $14 million in woods and trucking equipment for fuel collection and transportation.Collection efforts would be led by Klamath Falls-based JWTR, a company formed several years ago by late Jeld-Wen founder Richard Wendt. Keeping benefits local
Thompson called the use of a Klamath Falls company for fuel collection a longterm investment for the local community, which would contribute payroll taxes to local budgets over the next 20 years.Trey Sen n, executive director of the Klamath County Economic Development Association, said he expects The Beck Group numbers to be an accurate reflection of the jobs a biomass project would bring.
Some of the additional workforce would come through the “ripple effect,” Senn said.The ripple effect describes a development project that brings additional, related jobs. In this case, the ripple effect could create woodcutting and truck driving jobs, which are needed to collect fuel and deliver it to the plant.
Particularly in the case of industrial projects, the ripple effect can be profound, Senn said. With JWTR performing much of the transportation work, additional jobs are likely to be filled by local workers – giving a much-needed boost to the local economy.Through those workers’ wages, “You’re going to recapture that money and keep it here in the community,” Senn said.
Department of Energy seeks additional informationOregon Department of Energy officials plan to ask developers of a 35-megawatt biomass facility near Klamath Falls for more information before they grant permission to build.
The state says the request is a normal part of the process.Diana Enright, spokeswoma n for t he energ y department, declined to disclose which state agencies were requesting the information, but said the developer would know in early December, at which point the information would be made public.
Klamath Falls Bioenergy is spearheading the biomass project, slated for development near the Collins Products plant on Weyerhaeuser Road, adjacent to Highway 66. The developer is a subsidiary company of Northwest Energy Systems Company, or NESCO, which develops energy producing facilities in the United States.Richard Milne, spokesman for NESCO, said he did not expect the request to dramatically alter the company ’s development timeline. NESCO officials expect to receive a project order to move forward with the plant in early 2011.
“It’s part of the process,” Milne said.He said the company would provide additional information once it had a chance to review the request.
EPA ruling isn’t a setback for Klamath Falls plantNorthwest Energy Systems officials say a new Environmental Protection Agency ruling that deemed biomass production pollution is unlikely to have much impact on the company’s plans to build a plant near Klamath Falls.
“As f r as a fecting financing of the project, (the ruling) really has a very limited impact. It primarily just affects how we report (greenhouse gas emissions),” said Bruce Thompson, vice president of Northwest Energy Systems.Biomass proponent s were shocked when the EPA issued the ruling earlier this year that seeks to categorize biomass production as a greenhouse gas emitter.
Touted by supporters as an carbon-neutral way to put Oregonians back to work in the forests, biomass projects have drawn increased interest from rural communities in Oregon and elsewhere.Biomass production has the support of U.S. Rep Greg Walden, R-Ore., U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, both D-Ore., and Gov.-elect John Kitzhaber.
Walden, Wyden and Kitzhaber are fresh off general election victories, and each listed forest production and biomass as top priorities in their job creation plans.— Elon Glucklich
Page Updated: Friday November 19, 2010 01:02 AM Pacific
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