Vail biofuels project doesn’t get award
VAIL, Colorado – Vail’s proposal for a biomass plant was not among six projects selected for $21 million in awards from the U.S. Department of Energy Industrial Technologies Program.The awards were given under the “Combined Heat and Power Systems Technology Development and Demonstration” solicitation.That leaves the Vail project unfunded. The selected projects utilize primarily natural gas as a fuel source, rather than woody biomass from beetle killed trees as in the Vail proposal. The grant awards were announced Wednesday. The department had announced availability of $140 million for such grants.While the biofuels facility proposed to be built in Vail by Hayden, Cary & King, Co. was not awarded the $26 million grant requested in this most recent round of funding, Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler said the town will review its options before deciding what comes next. As proposed, a biomass plant in Vail would generate between 26-28 megawatts of heat and 6-8 megawatts of electricity annually to offset snowmelt heat and electricity requirements within the town. The start-up cost is estimated at $46 million.Zemler says the U.S. Forest Service is currently working on a biomass study to determine whether there is enough supply of beetle-killed wood to sustain a plant of this size in Vail into the future. Results are due in September. Andrew King, who submitted the grant request on behalf of Hayden, Cary & King, said he’ll continue to work with private investors, the U.S. Forest Service, the town of Vail, Holy Cross Energy and other stakeholders to maintain the project’s momentum and identify other funding sources in the form of other federal grants or U.S. Department of Agriculture guaranteed loans.