Tag Archives: eagle valley clean energy

[NEWS] Colorado Biomass Facility Owners May Be Garnished for Failing to Pay Builders

– by Randy Wyrick, August 18, 2017, Vail Daily

Eagle Valley Clean Energy chipsThe company that built the Gypsum biomass plant wants to garnish plant owner Eagle Valley Clean Energy for failing to pay for the work.

A federal court jury ruled in June that Wellons Inc., an Oregon company, was owed $10.84 million by Dean Rostrom and Kendric Wait’s Eagle Valley Clean Energy for building the biomass plant in Gypsum. Neither Rostrom nor Wait, nor any of the companies with which they’re involved, have paid Wellons, according to a motion filed Tuesday in Denver Federal District Court.

With interests and costs, Eagle Valley Clean Energy’s tab has now run up to $11,491,002.89, according to those documents.

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[NEWS] Court Orders Owners of CO Biomass Facility to Pay $10 Million to Company That Built It

– by Randy Wyrick, June 5, 2017, Summit Daily

Eagle Valley Clean Energy chipsA federal court jury ruled Monday that the owners of Gypsum’s biomass plant failed to pay the company that built it.

Wellons, an Oregon company, won a $10.84 million verdict, handing biomass plant owner-operator Eagle Valley Clean Energy a defeat in a civil lawsuit that has slogged on for more than a year. The jury also left the door open for Wellons to ask for interest on that amount. Wellons attorney Steve Leatham said the company will probably seek approximately $7 million in interest.

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[NEWS] Gypsum, Colorado Biomass Owners Send $186,000 Bill to Town

– by Pam Boyd, April 2, 2017, Vail Daily

Eagle Valley woodchips

Photo: Josh Schlossberg / The Biomass Monitor

Clearwater Ventures and Eagle Valley Clean Energy have submitted a bill for $186,000 to the town of Gypsum for costs associated with a condemnation action that was struck down by a district court judge.

In an order issued earlier this month, Eagle County District Court Judge Frederick Gannett ruled that the town of Gypsum failed to follow its own regulations when it launched a condemnation action against Clearwater Ventures LLC, the owner of the property where the Eagle Valley Clean Energy biomass plant is located.

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[NEWS] Court Overturns Gypsum, CO’s Condemnation of Biomass Facility Land

– by Jason Blevins, March 24, 2017, Denver Post

Eagle_Valley_captionAn Eagle County District Court has rejected the Town of Gypsum’s condemnation of land next to the Eagle River owned by a biomass plant operator, saying the town failed to follow its own rules for publicly announcing its eminent domain plans.

Judge Frederick Gannett said Gypsum’s town council “acted arbitrarily and took actions beyond its authority” when it approved an ordinance allowing the town to launch eminent domain proceedings against the landowner.

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[NEWS] Gypsum, CO Uses Eminent Domain for Riverfront Used by Biomass Facility

– by Jason Blevins, October 6, 2016, Denver Post

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Eagle Valley Clean Energy (Bill Heicher)

The Town of Gypsum is using its power of eminent domain to force the operator Colorado’s first biomass electric plant to sell 69 acres along the Eagle River that the town wants for open space, recreation and access for a future wastewater treatment plant.

The Gypsum Town Council in July approved an ordinance to acquire or condemn the property to compel Eagle Valley Clean Energy to negotiate the sale of the property. The town offered $506,000 and upped its offer to $800,000, but the company says the land is worth twice that.

“The courts provide a process for both sides to be heard for what they think the value of the ground is in an open market transaction,” said attorney Don Ostrander, an eminent domain specialist hired by the town to negotiate with the company.

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[NEWS] Town of Gypsum, CO and Biomass Officials Remain at Loggerheads

– by Pam Boyd, October 1, 2016, Vail Daily

eagle_valley_captionThe town of Gypsum and the owners/operators of the Eagle Valley Clean Energy biomass plant continue to be at loggerheads, with their disagreements covering everything from water rights at the biomass plant property to whether or not substantive attempts to negotiate a property purchase have even occurred.

The issues stem from a July Gypsum Town Council approval of an ordinance to “acquire or condemn” property belonging to Clearwater Ventures LLC, the entity that owns the land where the Eagle Valley Clean Energy biomass plant is located. Town officials have stated it is their intention is to launch a negotiation process that will determine a fair market price for 69 acres located along the Eagle River. Once that price is determined, the town will either proceed with a purchase or walk away from a deal, Gypsum officials said.

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Biomass Energy Growing Pains

– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

Eagle_Valley_captionSeveral biomass power facilities have come online over the last few years in Colorado, Texas, Wisconsin, Florida, and Hawaii, but not without difficulties, including fires, inefficient equipment, lawsuits, and competing with the low price of natural gas.

Gypsum, Colorado

Eagle Valley Clean Energy, an 11.5-megawatt biomass power facility in Gypsum, Colorado started operating in December 2013, only to have its conveyor belt catch fire in December 2014. Spokespersons said the facility would be back online shortly, yet as of October, it’s still offline. There have been no further media reports investigating why the facility still isn’t operating, and multiple calls and emails to the facility from The Biomass Monitor were not returned.

Another thorn in Eagle Valley’s claw is a lawsuit filed against the company in U.S. District Court in June 2015 by Wellons, Inc., an Oregon-based corporation that designed and built the biomass facility.

Wellons is suing Eagle Valley Clean Energy for $11,799,864 for breach of contract, accusing the company of “fraudulent transfers” and “civil conspiracy,” involving the transferring of $18.5 million of federal subsidies to “insider” parties in an alleged effort to hide the money. The money was issued to the facility from the federal government under Section of 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), also known as the Stimulus, involving payments to reimburse companies building renewable energy facilities.

Wellons claims that, on top of the nearly twelve million dollars Eagle Valley must pay them, they are owed past due interest of $1,185,433.56, with debt accruing at $3254.90 per day.

Another bump in the road for Eagle Valley involves the Chapter 11 bankcruptcy of the logging contractor that provides them the trees to fuel the facility, West Range Reclamation. West Range has provided nearly all of the wood to the facility since it opened, mostly from beetle-killed lodgepole pine from the White River National Forest.

Nacogdoches, Texas

Southern Power’s Nacogdoches Generating Facility, a 100-megawatt biomass power facility in Nacogdoches, Texas, opened in 2012 only to sit idle much of the time due to an inability to compete with the low price of natural gas, according to Reuters.

Rothschild, Wisconsin

In November 2013, WE Energies and Domtar Corp’s 50-megawatt biomass power facility opened in Rothschild, Wisconsin. However, it was offline from December 2014 through May 2015 for repairs, and was operational only 16% of the time during its first full year, in part due to an inability to compete with the low price of natural gas, according to the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel.

Gainesville, Florida

The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (GREC), a 100-megawatt biomass power facility, came online in Gainesville, Florida in 2013, and soon ran into controversy with noise complaints from neighbors.

In October 2014, the Gainesville City Commission approved an audit to look into financial transactions between Gainesville Regional Utilities (GRU) and GREC, which increased costs for the utility and its customers.

In April 2015, Wood Resource Recovery, one of the main fuel suppliers for GREC, sued the facility for breach of contract for $5 million in damages. Part of the complaint has to do with GREC’s refusal to take yard waste and materials from agriculturally zoned properties.

In August, the facility shut down temporarily, and when it became operational again, Gainesville Regional Utilities decided not to bring it back online, with no “projected return to service at this current time,” according to Margaret Crawford, GRU Communications Director. Instead, GRU is relying on power that is “more economic than GREC’s facility.”

In September, the city audit report uncovered that Gainesville Regional Utilities was paying $56,826 more per month than it was supposed to, totaling $900,000 in over-payments.

Koloa, Hawaii

Green Energy Team’s 7.5-megawatt biomass power facility in Koloa, Hawaii, was scheduled to start up in April 2015, but the official opening has been pushed back to November because the efficiency level from burning wood chips was lower than it should be, according to The Garden Island. The turbine was dismantled and reassembled, and is currently undergoing more testing.

Biomass Power Facilities Idle for Months

– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor

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Eagle Valley Clean Energy in Gypsum, Colorado

Over the last couple of years, several biomass power facilities across the U.S. have been sitting idle for months at a time, thanks to fires, equipment failure, and competition from cheaper energy sources.

Eagle Valley Clean Energy – Gypsum, Colorado

Eagle Valley Clean Energy, an 11.5-megawatt biomass power facility in Gypsum, Colorado began operations in December 2013, only to have its conveyor belt catch fire in December 2014.

Despite assurances from facility spokespeople that they’d resume operations within a few months, the facility came back online in 2016.

While Eagle Valley’s attorney recently said they’d be up and running again by the end of the year, the Town of Gypsum might not let that happen, with town officials pointing out that the facility had been operating without a required certificate of occupancy, according to Vail Daily.

Eagle Valley has received $40 million in loan guarantees from the USDA, a portion of an annual $12.5 million matching payment for feedstock transportation from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (part of the Farm Bill), and a $250,000 biomass utilization grant.

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