The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded a $795 million contract to Ameresco, Inc. to construct a biomass cogeneration facility and two smaller biomass heating facilities at the DOE’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, SC.
The project is said to be the largest energy savings performance and renewable energy contract (ESPC) in the nation’s history.
Ameresco will finance, design, construct, operate, maintain and fuel the new biomass facilities for the DOE. Under the contract, the DOE will not have to provide any up-front money to fund the energy efficiency and renewable energy project. Ameresco will be reimbursed from the guaranteed energy and operational cost savings generated by the project over the span of the contract. The project will be primarily fueled with forestry residues that are currently left in the forest to rot when the timber is harvested, according to a release.
“When completed, the new biomass facilities will reduce energy and water consumption and cut air emissions dramatically," George Sakellaris, President and CEO of Ameresco said. "In the first-year alone the energy and operational cost savings alone will be in excess of $34 million and site’s greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced by over 100,000 tons. Without question, the environmental benefits are going to be very significant for Savannah River Region and our nation.”
The project will create approximately 800 direct construction related jobs during its implementation and result in 125 permanent jobs. From an environmental perspective, the reductions in harmful emissions are especially dramatic. When completed, the new facility will result in an annual reduction of 400 tons of per year of particulate matter, 3,500 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 100,000 tons of carbon emissions. It will also reduce annual water consumption by 1.4 billion gallons and eliminate the burning of coal by 161,000 tons per year.
Ameresco, Inc., is one of the largest independent comprehensive energy solutions providers in North America with over 50 offices throughout the US and Canada. Headquartered in Framingham Massachusetts, Ameresco is one of the selected Department of Energy’s “Super” Indefinite Quantity Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ) Biomass ESPC contract holders.