Gainesville City Leaders Discuss Ownership of Possible Bio-Mass Power Plant
Supporters of a proposed bio-mass power plant say it will save the environment while also cutting down on the monthly power bills of Gainesville Regional Utilities customers.
But there's no agreement on who will be responsible for running the plant and keeping it within standards, so that's why city leaders discussed the issue Tuesday afternoon.
The main debate is over who should own the power plant, and how the owner will make sure the environment is being protected.
City Commissioner Jack Donovan says the city could have better control of where the wood comes from, and can make sure they aren't buying it from tree plantations where entire trees are being destroyed to sell as bio-mass fuel.
But leaders at GRU say if they allow a private company to build the plant and then sell the generated power to the city, they'll still be able to contractually control what's burned.
Just how strict they want to make those standards is what was discussed Tuesday at the city's Regional Utilities Committee meeting.
"These standards were developed by staff together with a ad hoc technical advisory committee. people from the logging industry, from the timber-generating industry, from the University of Florida and a number of forest stewardship certified programs," said Ed Regan from Gainesville Regional Utilities.
This issue is especially timely considering final proposals from the three companies competing to build the power plant are due in mid April.
The city will have to make a decision before then if they want to add the additional conditions as a requirement of the contract.
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