Catalyst Renewables Seek to Plant Additional Willow for Proposed Biomass Power Plant

Oswego, NY – If policy steps are made to enable biomass projects, Central New York could see a new source of fuel. This power or liquid fuel can be used for heat.

Biomass mostly comes from waste wood from logging operations. But over the last 20 years, the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry has been researching and harvesting 600 acres of willow.

The Texas-based company, Catalyst Renewables, wants to plant an additional 200 acres of willow. The willow would be used as a fuel source for a new biomass power plant proposed in Onondaga County.

President of Catalyst, Eric Spomer says other renewable sources such as wind and solar don't create jobs as a biomass plant would.

According to Spomer, the Onondaga plant would create 75 to 85 jobs on average for two years in construction. Full time work at the plant would create 26 jobs.

"Our plant will spend $21 million a year locally on salaries, direct fuel purchases. That's a lot," said Spomer.

Catalyst Renewables also has plans for two more biomass plants in Central New York. The company is hoping federal rules governing the Biomass Crop Assistance Program are put in place soon, so the projects can be financed.