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Friday, July 10, 2009 - 10:07am

Two Biomass Plants to Boost Rural Georgia

A power company that serves four million Georgians is investing in renewable energy by building two biomass plants in the state. For two rural communities in south Georgia, it's a boost to the economy.

Oglethorpe Power plans to build biomass plants in Appling and Warren Counties. The company hopes to break ground by 2011 pending state permits. Officials estimate it will create 250 temporary construction jobs at each site.

Once built, each plant would be fueled by wood and employ about 40 people. It would have a ripple effect on the local economy, says Dale Atkins with the Appling County Development Authority. "It's going to have a tremendous impact on our forest industry. Timber land is 70 percent in the county... this will create 500 jobs in the forest industry."

These counties were chosen in part because they are wood baskets. Company officials say the plants should come on line by 2015, and they're considering a third site in Echols County.