Peregrine Energy to Build Biomass-Fueled Cogeneration Unit in South Carolina

April 23, 2009
New plant will replace coal-fired facility at Sonoco

Peregrine Energy Corp., a provider of independent power and other industrial energy efficiency-related projects, announced on April 22 that it plans to develop a new woody biomass-fueled cogeneration plant at Sonoco's Hartsville Manufacturing Complex.

The company will construct and own a new 50-megawatt capacity facility that will be capable of generating enough electricity to power approximately 14,000 homes. The new biomass-fueled cogeneration facility, priced at $135 million, will replace Sonoco's existing coal-fired boilers.

Once the facility is operating, Peregrine intends to sell the entire electrical output and all renewable energy certificates associated with the plant to Progress Energy Carolinas, Inc., and low pressure steam from the plant to Sonoco for use in the manufacture of recycled paperboard and other converted products at its Hartsville complex.

"This combined heat and power generating unit will use an abundant, renewable, carbon-neutral fuel source," said Ralph H. Walker, Jr., president, Peregrine Energy. "It is anticipated that the plant will employ approximately 30 full-time workers and that as many as 300 construction-related jobs could be created during its development. In addition, the gathering, processing and transporting of woody biomass to the facility could create more than 110 additional jobs in the region."

"This is a great environmental success story, and Sonocos considerable experience in forestry operations will help keep the cost of fuel low, which is important in ensuring this is a cost-effective renewable energy resource for our customers," said Lloyd Yates, CEO, Progress Energy Carolinas.

The project will also benefit the regions' forestry industry by utilizing pre-commercial thinnings and waste logging residues as the woody biomass fuel for the project. Currently, when timberlands are thinned or harvested, woody debris from tree tops, limbs and stumps is left on the ground to deteriorate. This dying vegetation increases the risk of fires, negatively impacts healthy trees through higher rates of infestation and disease and releases significant quantities of methane into the environment.

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