OPPOSITION: Leon County Commissioner Bill Procter; local landowners
PROSPECTS: Highly Unlikely
BACKGROUND: Biomass Gas & Electric LLC (BG&E) proposed a $150 million biomass power plant that would have created 200 construction jobs for the Tallahassee economy. The plant was contracted to provide the city's utility with 42 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 35,000 homes, plus 60 decatherms of biomass process gas. The project was announced in early 2007, with a delivery date of 2010 or 2011.
Unrelenting NIMBY opposition from local landowners and the County Commissioner's office, however, forced BG&E to pull the plug on the project in January 2009. The plant was in line to receive a permit from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, but the permit had been challenged. Residents said the location was too close to homes, and they cried foul on what they claimed were underhanded deals between the city, Florida State University and BG&E. Leon County Commissioner Bill Proctor, the main opponent of the BG&E plant and the man blamed by BG&E for its demise, said today that a decision to locate a biomass power plant outside Leon County is "a victory for Tallahassee. I am so glad we have gotten rid of them."
The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce issued a statement saying it was "profoundly disappointed that our community has lost another significant opportunity for private investment in our local economy . . . The condemnation and personal attacks leveled against the BG&E project team were the most troubling aspect of this debate. It is widely known that one elected official actively engaged in slander, unfounded allegations, and manufacturing of his own facts to scare residents."
SOURCES: Biomass Magazine: http://biomassmagazine.com/articles/3741/facing-the-vocal-opposition;
Letter from BG&E withdrawing the project: http://tallahassee.com/assets/pdf/CD126946123.PDF;
Statement from Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce: http://tallahassee.com/assets/pdf/CD126962123.PDF;
Renewable Energy Development: http://renewableenergydev.com/red/biomass-tallahassee-renewable-energy-center/
Last updated November 10, 2010