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Biomass facility at Fort Drum to hold grand opening event on Friday

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FORT DRUM — A new biomass facility on post will have its grand opening this morning, drawing several regional business and government leaders.

The 60-megawatt generating plant, which will be operated by ReEnergy Holdings LLC, Albany, has been touted as a project that will provide the area surrounding the post with renewable power and lead to more jobs.

The company, which took control of the former coal plant on 2nd Street Southwest in March 2012, has spent the past year getting the site ready for use. In that time, it has made deals with companies and municipalities in the region to take material such as tree stumps and branches that otherwise would end up in landfills.

The plant has received support from lawmakers at the local, state and federal levels, and the company received a payment in lieu of taxes agreement from the town of LeRay, Carthage Central School District and Jefferson County.

The company will sell renewable energy credits for power generated at the facility through the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, an initiative to obtain 30 percent of the state’s electricity from renewable sources by 2015.

Among the people scheduled to appear at the grand opening are Joe Martens, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation; Francis J. Murray Jr., president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell, D-Theresa, and Anthony G. Collins, co-chairman of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.

A press release from the company said an announcement would be made during its grand opening; a company spokeswoman declined to reveal what it would be. However, the spokeswoman said the announcement was not in connection with a potential decision by the Defense Logistics Agency-Energy about which company it would contract with to supply the post with renewable power.

Initial estimates by the agency in January said that decision would be made between July and September.

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