Columbia Biogas signs on PacifiCorp as power customer

Columbia Biogas and PacifiCorp signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for the energy output of the waste-to-power plant planned for Northeast Portland.

Columbia Biogas and PacifiCorp signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for the energy output of the waste-to-power plant planned for Northeast Portland.

Columbia Biogas and PacifiCorp signed a 20-year power purchase agreement for the energy output of the waste-to-power plant planned for Northeast Portland.

The formal agreement is a key step toward securing the private financing that Columbia Biogas needs to move its plan to collect food waste and turn it into electricity and fertilizer using anaerobic digester technology.

In late March, Colubmia Biogas President John McKinney announced he would abandon plans to develop the facility in partnership with the city of Portland and seek private financing instead. The project became controversial after reports about the financing plan raised the alarm that the city would be on the hook for too much of the project's $55 million cost.

In a press release, McKinney called the power purchase agreement one of the "few remaining milestones prior to close of financing and groundbreaking later this summer with commercial operations expected in mid 2013."

Initially, the facility is scheduled to generate approximately 3 megawatts of electrical power, which is the equivalent to the amount of electricity to power 3,000 average homes. Ultimately, Columbia Biogas intends to ramp up production to 5 megawatts of power.

"This agreement marks our first agreement with a commercial food waste-to-energy facility in an urban setting," said Pat Egan, vice president of customer and community affairs for Pacific Power, the local utility operation of PacifiCorp, in a press release. "We appreciated the opportunity to work on this deal together with Columbia Biogas, which has the added advantage of bringing jobs to the Northeast Portland portion of our customer service area."

The Columbia Biogas facility is planned for the Cully Neighborhood near the intersection of Northeast Columbia Boulevard and Interstate 205.

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