One-Third of Imperial Valley for 150 MW & Biofuels

By Published On: August 17, 2007

California Ethanol & Power plans to seek permits for the first of five plants in the Imperial Valley in the weeks ahead to produce power, ethanol, and fertilizer from sugar cane. If the plan is fully carried out, it would use a third of the valley’s farmland. Each of the $150 million plants is expected to produce 50 MW of power by burning the leftover bagasse from the sugar cane to ethanol process. Part of the power, 6 MW, will be used at each plant to run the ethanol conversion process, with the remainder of the power sold into the state’s grid. Each facility would be designed to produce 50 million gallons a year of ethanol. It will take 30,000 acres of cane to supply each plant. If all five are completed, it would convert 150,000 acres of the valley’s 450,000 acres of irrigated farmland from a variety of existing crops to sugar cane. Batley Farms, operated by Nora and William Batley, Jr., are growing the seed cane to plant the acreage. California Ethanol and Power plans to enter into long-term contracts with several major growers in the valley to supply the cane for the ethanol plants. The first plant is to be located on a 249-acre industrial parcel in an unincorporated area of Imperial County. The company said it would seek for the nearby Mesquite Lake Enterprise Zone to be expanded to cover the site. Expansion would allow it to take advantage of a variety of financial incentives. In addition, it plans to seek economic benefits from the Imperial Valley Economic Development Commission. Washington Group International will handle design, engineering, construction, and initial startup operation of the first plant.

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