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Piedmont Region Aims for Biomass Plant

GrowGreen Power Inc. has announced it has focused its site selection process to the Piedmont region of North Carolina for a unique solar/biomass plant that will be attached to a 50-acre hydroponic greenhouse. The project is expected to create about 300 permanent jobs to the area, according to a news release.

The plan for the renewable energy system is to combine a 37-megawatt solar thermal and biomass power plant with the 50-acre hydroponic greenhouse, which will be heated and cooled by the power plant’s waste energy. The majority of the power plant’s clean, renewable energy – about 37 MW of the 43.65 MW produced – will be sold to the local power grid, the release states. In addition, any CO2 emissions will be converted to food grade levels and used to feed crops within the greenhouse.

Because the produce would be grown within a climate-controlled greenhouse, said Lehman, the agricultural requirements for the site selection process aren’t as “stringent.” However, Lehman said, “There are a lot of little things that (the growers) have to consider.”

For instance, one of the main considerations in determining a site for the greenhouse/power plant hybrid is the amount of sunlight any particular area receives. Lehman said growers have been using computer simulations to determine which parts of the U.S. receive the right amount of sunlight for their greenhouse crops, and have been keeping track of weather patterns.

Lehman said GreenGrow is looking at sites of 300 or more acres.

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