During development of the Perry County project, more than 200 construction jobs will be created. Once operational, the plant will sustain more than 500 jobs in the area in operations, fuel supply, and supporting industries. By purchasing tons of wood by-product materials from Eastern Kentucky sawmills to fuel the plant, ecoPower will also create sustainable jobs for Kentucky’s timber harvesting and transportation industries. The estimated economic impact is more than $18 million annually. ecoPower’s long-term plan includes the development of additional plants in Appalachia with the potential to create thousands of additional jobs.
Promoting Energy Independence
To promote the use of domestic renewable energy and diversify its energy mix, America must develop all of its domestic resources. Bioenergy is a small, but growing part of the increasing need for new sources of energy supply.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that domestic bioenergy currently provides nearly 45 billion kilowatt hours of electricity, or almost 2 percent of the nation’s electricity. DOE projects that by 2020, biomass could supply as much as 15 percent of the nation’s power needs. As one of the most heavily forested states in the country, Kentucky will play an increasingly important role in meeting this growing demand.
It is important to note that Kentucky lacks large-scale access to the other leading sources of commercial renewable energy such as wind and solar. Given our state’s extensive forest resources, our strength is wood-fueled biomass energy—an abundant, reliable, renewable source of clean energy.