North Carolina commission okays new fuel mix for Lumberton power plant

The North Carolina Utilities Commission on May 20 approved the new fuel mix, and the resulting creation of renewable energy credits, at the formerly coal-fired Lumberton power plant.

On March 27, North Carolina Renewable Power-Lumberton LLC (NCRP-Lumberton) and Lumberton Investments 1 LLC filed a petition requesting an approval of a transfer to NCRP-Lumberton) of a 35-MW coal-fired facility located in Lumberton, Robeson County, North Carolina, and the associated certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) previously granted to Lumberton Investments. The CPCN for the Lumberton facility was initially granted to Cogentrix of North Carolina in 1984.

The facility was built as a cogeneration facility that was a qualifying facility under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978. Over the years, the CPCN was transferred several times to various Cogentrix affiliates and others. However, the Lumberton facility ceased generating electricity in 2009. The petition stated that NCRP-Lumberton is retrofitting the Lumberton facility to use poultry waste and woody biomass as fuel, and that the applicant intends to seek registration of the facility as a new renewable energy facility by the commission and certification as a qualifying facility by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

On April 28, the commission issued an order approving the change in ownership and the transfer of the CPCN for the Lumberton facility from Lumberton Investments to NCRP-Lumberton.

On April 24, NCRP-Lumberton filed a verified application requesting that the commission amend the CPCN to authorize the Lumberton facility to burn a biomass resource mix of wood waste (wood biomass) and poultry waste combined with wood shavings, straw, rice hulls or other bedding materials (poultry litter). In addition, the applicant requests that the commission approve the applicant’s proposed methodology for determining the amount of energy, including useful thermal energy, and the renewable energy certificates (RECs) that will be produced by burning the wood biomass and poultry litter.

NCRP-Lumberton plans to sell the output of the Lumberton facility and a portion of the RECs to Duke Energy Progress. Further, the applicant filed a registration statement requesting that the commission accept registration of the Lumberton facility as a new renewable energy facility. Finally, the applicant requested that the commission transfer the CPCN and registration for the Lumberton facility to a Small Power (SP) docket.

The commission’s Public Staff recommended that the commission accept the methods proposed by NCRP-Lumberton for calculating the portions of wood biomass and poultry litter, the associated RECs to be produced by each type of fuel, and the amount of thermal energy to be produced. In addition, the Public Staff recommended that the commission amend the CPCN, accept the registration of NCRP-Lumberton’s facility as a new renewable energy facility, and transfer the CPCN and registration to a Small Power docket.

“Based on the foregoing and the record, the Commission concludes that there is good cause to amend the CPCN to allow the Applicant to burn at its Lumberton facility a biomass resource mix of biomass wood and poultry litter, and to approve the Applicant’s proposed methodology for determining the amount of energy, including useful thermal energy, and the RECs that will be produced by burning the wood biomass and poultry litter,” said the May 20 order. “Further, the Commission finds good cause to accept the registration of the Lumberton facility as a new renewable energy facility, to transfer the CPCN and registration to a new docket, Docket No. SP-5640, Sub 0, and to close Docket No. EMP-91, Sub 0. In addition, the Commission concludes that NCRP-Lumberton should be required to annually file the information required by Commission Rule R8-66 on or before April 1, and will be required to participate in the NC-RETS REC tracking system (http://www.ncrets.org) in order to facilitate the issuance of RECs.”

NCRP-Lumberton is owned by GRP North Carolina LLC, which is wholly owned by Georgia Renewable Power LLC. A company contact is: John C. Colucci, 2100 SouthBridge Parkway, Suite 585, Birmingham, AL 35209, ccolucci@greenfuelsenergy.com, (609) 389-2813.