FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - Energy services provider Ameresco Inc. has been awarded a $795 million contract by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to construct a biomass cogeneration facility, which will produce electricity and heat, and two smaller biomass heating facilities at the DOE’s Savannah River Site in Aiken, S.C. 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, DOE will not have to provide any upfront 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 facilities will be primarily fueled with forestry residues that are currently left in the forest to rot when timber is harvested.

“We are extremely pleased to have been chosen by the Department of Energy for this landmark renewable energy and efficiency project,” said George Sakellaris, president and CEO. “When completed, the new biomass facilities will reduce energy and water consumption and cut air emissions dramatically. In the first year alone the energy and operational cost savings alone will be in excess of $34 million and the 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.”

From an environmental perspective, the new facility is expected to reduce particulate matter by 400 tons per year, sulfur dioxide emissions by 3,500 tons per year, and carbon emissions by 100,000 tons per year, as well as reduce annual water consumption by 1.4 billion gallons and eliminate the burning of coal by 161,000 tons per year.

Ameresco also said the project will create approximately 800 direct construction-related jobs during its implementation and result in 125 permanent jobs.

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Publication date:08/31/2009