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Industry News

Conversion of Mt. Poso Cogeneration Plant from Coal to Biomass is Complete

LCG, February 24, 2012--DTE Energy Services (DTEES) and Macpherson Energy Company yesterday announced that the Mt. Poso cogeneration plant is completely converted from coal to 100 percent biomass fuel that is derived from urban and agricultural wood waste. The 44-MW facility, located near Bakersfield, California, is now delivering power to the grid.

The Mt. Poso cogeneration facility operated for over 20 years using coal for fuel to generate power for the grid and steam for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) operations. The conversion project at Mt. Poso began in November 2010.

The Mt. Poso biomass conversion is one of the few, recent biomass power projects to reach fruition, as many planned biomass projects were deferred due to regulatory uncertainty associated with (i) the Industrial Boiler MACT and (ii) being deemed a carbon neutral facility.

DTEES and Macpherson Energy are equal owners of the Mt. Poso facility, and there is a long term power purchase agreement (PPA) with Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) for the renewable energy generated from the plant. The renewable energy from the base load cogeneration facility will be valuable to PG&E in meeting the growing California renewable energy requirement of 33 percent by 2020.

President and Chief Executive Officer of Macpherson Energy stated, "This is a proud day - we're creating jobs, reducing emissions, and delivering clean renewable electricity. The new Mt. Poso biomass plant is good for the Kern County economy and good for the environment."

By making a significant investment to convert the Mt. Poso plant, DTEES and Macpherson Energy preserved 30 jobs and created eight new jobs at the facility, as well as creating 90 local jobs during construction and an estimated 100 long term jobs at local firms supplying biomass fuel and providing maintenance and other services to the plant.

The DTEES Vice President stated, "We are excited to see Mt. Poso generate clean power at full capacity. The conversion to biomass energy advances DTE Energy's commitment to green energy. It will ensure a reliable source of energy with state-of-the-art technologies to preserve the environment. Most importantly, the project will bring high-skilled jobs to the Bakersfield area."
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