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Energy Company Investing $135 Million to Build Biomass Plant in South Carolina

Peregrine Energy, a developer of independent energy efficiency projects in industrial and institutional settings, will invest $135 million to build a woody biomass cogeneration plant in Hartsville, South Carolina. A company statement says it will locate the facility on 12 to 15 acres of Sonoco's manufacturing complex there, and plans an output of 50 megawatts of electricity generating capacity, enough to power 14,000 homes. The plant will utilize tree limbs, stumps, and other wood debris byproducts left behind in deforestation projects and will replace Sonoco's existing coal-fired burners. Once the facility is operational, Peregrine will sell all electrical output and renewable energy certificates associated with the plant to Progress Energy Carolinas Inc., and will sell low-pressure steam to Sonoco for use in its recycled paperboard manufacturing facility. Ralph H. Walker, president of Peregrine Energy, says his company expects to create 30 full-time jobs with the project and anticipates approximately 110 additional jobs related to the gathering, processing, and transport of the woody biomass products. "We're proud to be part of this innovative project as part of our commitment to a balanced energy future," says Lloyd Yates, president and CEO of Progress Energy Carolinas. "This is a great environmental success story, and Sonoco's considerable experience in forestry operations will keep the cost of fuel low, which is important in ensuring this is a cost-effective renewable energy resource for our customers." Peregrine officials say they expect the plant to be commercially operational by the fall of 2012.

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