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Consultant chosen for biomass plant in Nevada County

The steering committee behind a proposed biomass plant for Nevada County has selected a consultant, the most recent step in a process expected to bring the alternative, renewable energy source here.

TSS Consultants, of Rancho Cordova, will prepare a system impact study and secure a conditional use permit necessary for the plant, slated for land just south of 11750 La Barr Meadows Road.

The task force last week chose TSS Consultants over one other company that submitted Requests for Qualifications. The panel opted for TSS Consultants after checking both companies’ references, said Steve Eubanks, chairman of the Nevada County Biomass Task Force.

“They will be the company we work with in the future,” Eubanks said.

Frederick Tornatore, TSS Consultants’ chief technical officer and the company’s co-owner, noted his business conducted the 2014 feasibility study for the biomass plant. That study included the suggested site for the plant and what type of technology it would use.

“That kind of logically builds into the next step,” Tornatore said. “We’ve done a lot of this land-use entitlement work and permitting.”

TSS Consultants and the task force now will develop a contract for the work, which likely will be signed within two weeks, Eubanks said.

It’s expected to take about 16 months to prepare the study and get the permitting. Eubanks anticipates a private energy developer would build the $12 to $15 million, 3-megawatt plant. It could be running by 2020.

Permitting the project could prove complicated. Grass Valley officials are considering annexing the land selected for the plant, which now resides in unincorporated Nevada County. The timing of that annexation will determine if permitting is needed from the county or Grass Valley, Eubanks said.

“It’s a matter of when, not whether they want to annex,” Eubanks said.

A $250,000 federal grant will pay for the consultant to perform work for both the Nevada County biomass plant and a separate plant in Camptonville.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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