New owner completing conversion of Lumberton coal plant to biomass

North Carolina Renewable Power-Lumberton LLC applied April 24 at the North Carolina Utilities Commission to amend a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity for a power plant that is undergoing a coal-to-biomass conversion.

The NCRP-Lumberton facility is the subject of a CPCN for a 35-MW coal-fired merchant power plant located in Lumberton, North Carolina. NCRP-Lumberton fully acquired the facility from Lumberton Investments 1 LLC on March 26, 2015, subject to transfer of the CPCN by this commission. The facility ceased operation as a coal-fired plant in June 2009. It was originally developed by Cogentrix and was designed, constructed and operated to combust coal exclusively. No renewable energy resource has been used to fuel the facility to date.

The applicant is in the process of retrofitting the facility to burn biomass, which is a mix of wood waste and poultry waste combined with wood shavings, straw rice hulls, or other bedding material. The applicant is investing in excess of $20 million to rework, renovate, upgrade and repower the facility. It is also seeking from the commission a registration as a renewable energy facility.

The applicant is negotiating the amendment and assignment of the Renewable Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) dated July 2012 between Poultry Power USA and Duke Energy Progress. Under the PPA, Duke Energy Progress will purchase all of the energy generation output of the facility and a portion of the renewable energy certificates generated by the facility.

The retrofitting of the facility began in December 2014 and repowering is expected to occur in May 2015. After construction the facility will generate both electricity and useful thermal energy The facility’s initial projected dependable capacity is 20,000 kW net electric generation and 212 MMBtu/hr net thermal generation. The applicant intends to make further modifications that will increase the projected dependable capacity to 35,000 kW net electric generation and 352 MMBtu/hr net thermal generation over the next twenty-four months.

Steam exiting the turbine will be condensed, transferring heat to the circulating water system and will be used by an adjacent wood drying facility operated by PowerFiber. The wood dried by PowerFiber will be commercially sold.

An applicant contact is: John Colucci, North Carolina Renewable Power-Lumberton LLC, 2100 SouthBridge Parkway, Suite 585, Birmingham AL 35209, ccolucci@greenfuelsenergy.com, 609-389-2813.

NCRP-Lumberton is wholly owned by GRP North Carolina LLC, which in turn is wholly owned by Georgia Renewable Power LLC.

About Barry Cassell 20414 Articles
Barry Cassell is Chief Analyst for GenerationHub covering coal and emission controls issues, projects and policy. He has covered the coal and power generation industry for more than 24 years, beginning in November 2011 at GenerationHub and prior to that as editor of SNL Energy’s Coal Report. He was formerly with Coal Outlook for 15 years as the publication’s editor and contributing writer, and prior to that he was editor of Coal & Synfuels Technology and associate editor of The Energy Report. He has a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University.