FirstEnergy cancels plans for US biomass conversion project

Market prices for electricity have fallen significantly, according to company spokesman.

FirstEnergy said that it is cancelling plans to repower units 4 and 5 at its RE Burger plant in Shadyside, Ohio, to generate electricity principally with biomass and will permanently shut down the units by December 31, 2010.

Since the Burger biomass repowering project was announced, market prices for electricity have fallen significantly, and expected market prices no longer support a repowered Burger plant, the company said.

FirstEnergy Generation president Gary Leidich said that despite its best efforts, the company was unable to overcome the challenges of the difficult economy to cost-effectively repower the Burger plant to burn biomass.

The Burger plant units 4 and 5 were included as part of a 2005 Consent Decree settlement with the US Environmental Protection Agency and other parties to the company's New Source Review case involving its WH Sammis plant.

Under the 2005 Consent Decree, FirstEnergy was obligated to repower, scrub or shut down the units as part of an overall compliance plan to reduce system-wide emissions of sulphur dioxide.