News 12 @ 6 o'clock, November 30, 2009
AIKEN CTY , S.C. -- The trucks are already moving in and making way for a new Biomass Cogeneration plant to be built at Savannah River Site. It'll be the largest of it's kind in the country and will bring more than just cost-saving energy initiatives to Aiken County.
"Today is about the three most important issues in South Carolina...jobs, more jobs and many more jobs," said House Majority Whip James Clyburn."
"By investing in cleaner energy, we're also creating good jobs that can't be outsourced," said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. The Department of Energy says 800 new jobs will be created to build the plant and 125 permanent positions will be available once the plant is up and running. Officials say not only will the new facility bring in hundreds of jobs to go along with the more than two thousand created from stimulus funds, they say the new facility will also change the way energy is used here on the site. The $795 million dollar privately funded plant will be powered by wood chips instead of the current coal powerhouse and oil fired boilers.
"There's a better way to produce power, a more secure way to produce power so let it begin in SC," said Sen. Lindsey Graham
The plant is supposed to reduce greenhouse emissions by 100,000 tons per year; get rid of more than 2 miles of steam distribution lines at the site and save more than 35 million dollars in energy, operating and maintenance costs..
"For electricity, we burn coal which is cheap and abundant and in the US is the proud owner of a fourth of the reserves in the world but for the sake of our prosperity, security and our planet, we have to transition to a cleaner economy," Secretary of Energy Steven Chu.
And now that ground has been broken, Aiken County could be seen as an innovator for new energy.
The plant is slated to open December 2011.