USDA Chooses Gypsum Plant To Participate In Energy Program

Jul 30, 2014

The USDA chose a biomass plant in Gypsum to participate in its Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Biomass, or wood chips, are burned to generate electricity at the plant.
The USDA chose a biomass plant in Gypsum to participate in its Biomass Crop Assistance Program. Biomass, or wood chips, are burned to generate electricity at the plant.
Credit Marci Krivonen

The U.S. Department of Agriculture chose a Gypsum biomass plant to participate in a federal energy program. Eagle Valley Clean Energy was one of 36 facilities nationwide chosen to be part of the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

$25 million will be allocated to the program annually. Some of that money will subsidize costs for foresters harvesting dead or diseased trees on federal land. Dean Rostrom with Eagle Valley Clean Energy says the subsidies will ultimately lower costs at the plant.

"We think this helps the forest tremendously and helps with forest treatments and forest restoration. It also helps us because we’re able to purchase that biomass material at a slightly lower cost as a result of this subsidy. And then, under our arrangement with Holy Cross Energy, we pass through cost savings on fuel to Holy Cross, which means that passes through to consumers."

He says the program will help clear Colorado forests of fuel for wildfires, such as tinder beetle-kill trees. The Gypsum plant began operating in December. It burns wood to generate electricity for homes and businesses that get power from Holy Cross Energy. It’s the only energy plant of its kind in the state.