Energy Secretary Chu Breaks Ground on Largest Energy Efficiency Project in Nation’s History

Aiken, SC – U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today joined with Ameresco’s CEO George Sakellaris to break ground on the largest energy efficiency project in the federal government’s history. Located at the Department of Energy’s Savannah River Site (SRS) in Aiken, South Carolina, the project will feature the construction of a large biomass cogeneration facility and two smaller biomass heating facilities.

“This facility will result in cleaner and more efficient use of energy. We are switching from fossil fuels to bio mass fuels like waste woods from forests,” said Secretary Steven Chu at the groundbreaking ceremony. “This project is one of the largest bio mass facilities in the country – greatly reducing particulate matter, sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide emissions – leading to cleaner air for this community. We are also replacing old, inefficient coal and oil fired boilers that were well passed their useful lives. And we are reducing transmission losses by sitting the facilities closer to where the steam and electricity will be used.”

“Once operational, these new biomass facilities will reduce energy and operational costs at a savings of $34 million alone in the first year while reducing energy and water consumption and cutting air emissions dramatically. In addition, the economic benefits in both the short and long term are going to be significant because of the significant size of this project,” said George Sakellaris, President and CEO of Ameresco. “This project is a perfect example of how the public-private partnerships enabled by energy savings performance and renewable energy contract (ESPC) program is a powerful tool for achieving both environmental and economic progress.”

Ameresco, the premier energy services and renewable energy company, will finance, design, construct, operate, maintain and fuel the new biomass facilities for the DOE. Under the contract, the DOE will not have to provide any up-front money to fund the energy efficiency and renewable energy project. Ameresco will be reimbursed from the guaranteed energy and operational cost savings generated by the project over the span of the contract. The project will be fueled with forestry residues that are currently left in the forest to rot when the timber is harvested.

The project will create approximately 800 direct construction related jobs during its implementation and result in 125 permanent jobs.

From an environmental perspective, the reductions in harmful emissions are especially dramatic. When completed, the new facility will result in an annual reduction of 400 tons of per year of particulate matter, 3,500 tons of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 100,000 tons of carbon emissions. It will also reduce annual water consumption by 1.4 billion gallons and eliminate the burning of coal by 161,000 tons per year. The project will consist of a very large biomass energy center steam cogeneration plant and two smaller biomass-fueled plants. The biomass energy center will replace an outdated and aging coal-fired cogeneration plant. The facility will have a steam output capacity of 240,000 PPH. The smaller facilities involves the turnkey installation of two 15,000 PPH steam boilers that will replace the aging fuel oil-fired packaged boilers. Ameresco will have responsibility for operations and maintenance throughout the contract term.

The biomass energy center will produce clean, green renewable energy to meet SRS’s needs for steam used in industrial processes and building heating systems, and electricity to power much of the entire site. The two smaller facilities will provide biomass-produced steam for the heating and industrial processes.

Clean biomass and bio-derived fuels (BDF) will be the fuel source for all of the new facilities. Clean biomass consists of various types of forest residues that were previously left on the forest deck to rot including tree tops, limbs, and small non-merchantable timber. The use of renewable energy fuel sources will provide many positive economic and environmental benefits to the facility and the local community.

About Ameresco
Ameresco, Inc., is the premier energy services and renewable energy company in North America with over 50 offices throughout the US and Canada. Headquartered in Framingham Massachusetts, Ameresco utilizes innovative strategies, systems, and technologies for renewable and sustainable energy generation and infrastructure renewal, thereby reducing operating expenses, increasing energy reliability and enhancing the environment. Ameresco is one of the selected Department of Energy’s “Super” Indefinite Quantity Indefinite Delivery (IDIQ) Biomass ESPC contract holders. Please visit the website

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Ameresco: CarolAnn Hibbard, 508-661-2264, [email protected]