Facing closure and a major loss of jobs, the Mt. Poso facility converted a formerly shuttered coal fired power plant to utilizing biomass fuel derived from waste wood. Mt. Poso’s primary biomass fuel sources include agricultural waste in the form of orchard removals, orchard prunings, shells, and pits; and urban wood waste including tree trimmings, woody construction waste, pallets, and clean demolition wood from county and municipalities’ recycling programs. The plant sells the power to the local utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, under a long term contract.
The conversion preserved 30 jobs and created 8 jobs. 90 local jobs were created during construction, as well as 100 long-term jobs at local firms supplying fuel and providing services to the plant. Jobs at the plant offer above average wages with medical benefits and advanced educational training. More than 80% of Mt. Poso’s employees are residents of low-income communities. The project sponsor has forged many strong alliances with local job training organizations to undertake further community outreach into the low-income area. JP Morgan Chase acquired the New Markets Tax Credits.