Col. Ricketts on Wiregrass Power, LLC

I received the appended message from Col. Ricketts, Project Manager for the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA). My response will follow. -jsq
From: “Allan Ricketts” <>
To: “‘John S. Quarterman'”
Cc: “‘Michael Noll'”, “‘Susan Wehling'”, “‘Brad Lofton'” <>
Subject: Wiregrass Power, LLC
Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2010 12:48:28 -0500

Norman Bennett, Gary Minchew,
Mary Gooding, Jerry Jennett (Chair),
J. Stephen Gupton (Attorney),
Brad Lofton (Executive Director)
Hello John,

It was good to see you at the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority Board Meeting on Tuesday evening. I encourage you to attend more often.

I’ve attached copies of several recent press releases that we discussed during the meeting. I look forward to seeing these posted on your information exchange for folks to read.

Please let me know if you would like a copy of Dr. Christopher Teaf’s .ppt

Col. Allan Ricketts, Project Manager
presentation and Bio/Curriculum Vitae that we also reviewed during the meeting. Since this presentation addresses in specific detail the public health concerns that you and WACE have raised, I suggest you also consider posting these on your information exchange for folks to read

Best Regards. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Allan Ricketts

Project Manager
Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority
2110 N. Patterson Street, Valdosta, GA
229-259-9972 local
877-259-9972 toll free
229-300-9570 cell
Visit us online @

Statement from Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on EPA Guidance on Energy from Biomass Which Can Help Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions 


WASHINGTON, November 10, 2010- Agriculture Secretary Vilsack today issued the following statement regarding the EPA greenhouse gas tailoring rule:


"EPA’s release today of guidance to the states on greenhouse gas permitting takes a meaningful step forward in recognizing the potential role that energy from biomass can play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Under the guidance, EPA signals that states may be able to consider the use of biomass energy as a ‘best available control technology for GHG.’  Further, EPA notes that, in early January, it will provide further guidance to states regarding biomass and will determine this spring whether additional rulemaking related to biomass energy is necessary.

"Energy produced from wood, switchgrass or other agricultural products can both benefit rural economies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

"Markets for woody biomass could also prove to be vitally important in allowing the US Forest Service and others to restore forests to mitigate the impacts of the bark beetle epidemic in the West and to reduce the potential for catastrophic fire in our forests. 

"EPA’s step today acknowledges both the potential role of biomass in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the need to ensure that energy policy properly accounts for both the sequestration and emissions associated with bioenergy.  USDA will continue to work with EPA to ensure that the greenhouse gas benefits of biomass energy are properly accounted for under this Administration’s energy and climate policies."


Gainesville biomass project clears regulatory hurdles

By Gainesville Renewable Energy Center | December 08, 2010


A 100-megawatt biomass power plant project in Florida nears construction as it receives approvals from state’s siting board and an administrative law judge.


Two rulings announced on Dec. 7 moved the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center closer to a construction start.

The Florida Power Plant Siting Board, composed of the Florida governor and the independently elected members of the Cabinet, unanimously approved the site application for the proposed biomass power plant in Gainesville, Fla. This siting board approval is the culmination of the permitting and regulatory activities designed to ensure that the project is in the best interests of the citizens of Florida. In announcing the approval, Gov. Charlie Crist said, “I think this can be a great breakthrough and I think it is the right thing to do. The groups that have supported this, I have great trust and confidence in them.”

Also on Dec. 7, a Florida administrative law judge issued his second ruling in favor of the proposed biomass plant. Judge Robert E. Meale’s recommended orders for the plant’s air construction permit rejected claims made by petitioners who oppose the plant. He found instead that the facility will comply with all applicable environmental regulations and will not cause adverse air emissions impacts or adverse impacts to wildlife species or their habitat. The air construction permit is expected to be finalized by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in the next few weeks.

On Nov. 1, in a separate but related process for the site certification application, Judge Meale issued an order recommending that a site certification be granted for the Gainesville Renewable Energy Center despite the claims of one intervenor. In that order, Judge Meale stated, “Instead of undermining sound silvicultural practices, the new market for biomass materials will enhance the viability of forestry resources and thus serve regional environmental needs.”

The 100-megawatt biomass project will be owned and operated by American Renewables,

LLC. Gainesville Regional Utilities, the municipally-owned utility that serves the Gainesville community, has a 30-year power purchase agreement to buy all power generated. GRU chose to move forward with GREC after undergoing a seven-year process to review options to responsibly and cost-effectively meet its future generation needs while helping Gainesville achieve its carbon reduction goals. GREC, which will be fueled by wood waste, will meet GRU’s need for improved reliability, increased fuel diversity and long-term cost savings for customers.

Almost two-thirds of the energy GRU currently produces is fueled by coal, and 25 percent comes from natural gas.

The three national bond rating agencies that recently awarded the utility “Double A” ratings cited a lack of fuel diversity as one of the challenges facing GRU. Adding biomass to the fuel supply will help the utility maintain its high bond ratings, which in the past six years have saved customers more than $67 million.

“The siting board’s decision and the Judge’s order confirm that GREC will be designed and operated in an environmentally responsible manner,” said Josh Levine, project manager for American Renewables. “We look forward to quickly beginning construction.” Levine added. “It is critical that the project move forward without delay so the citizens of Gainesville and the region can reap the significant economic benefits the plant will bring, including more than 700 direct and indirect permanent jobs throughout the region, as well as the benefit of nearly $200 million in reduced rates over 30 years if the project remains on schedule and is eligible for federal stimulus dollars.”

The plant has been approved and endorsed by a wide variety of government agencies, nonprofits and other organizations from the environmental, business, forestry and other communities, including: the Florida Wildlife Federation, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Florida Forestry Association, Florida Farm Bureau Federation, Florida Municipal Electric Association, Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce, FloridaWorks, Forest Landowners Association, Alachua County Legislative Delegation, Gainesville City Commissioners, North Central Florida Renewable Resource Conservation & Development Council, Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Florida Public Service Commission, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Department of Health, Florida Department of Community Affairs, Florida Department of State, Florida Department of Transportation, North Central Florida Regional Planning Council, Suwannee River Water Management District, City of Gainesville, Alachua County and the U.S. Corps of Engineers.