Audit Report: The Department of Energy's Administration of Energy Savings Performance Contract Biomass Projects [open pdf - 570KB]
"Currently, biomass is the single largest source of renewable energy in the United States. Biomass technologies convert fuels developed from various feed stocks to heat and/or electricity and can be used in place of fossil fuels in most energy applications, such as steam boilers, water heaters, generators and gas turbines. Biomass fuels include all plant and plant-derived (organic) materials that are available on a renewable or recurring basis, including sources from agriculture, forestry, mill residues, urban waste, landfill gases and dedicated energy crops. Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) financing mechanisms can help Federal agencies develop and finance biomass projects to take advantage of local biomass resources while reducing energy costs and achieving Federal renewable energy goals. Under an ESPC, a private-sector energy services company develops, finances and installs energy improvement projects, such as a biomass project, on a Federal site in exchange for a share of future savings over the contract term. In 2012, to help achieve renewable energy goals and realize energy cost savings, the Department of Energy began operating two new biomass facilities located at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory (Oak Ridge) and the Savannah River Site. The $65 million Oak Ridge Biomass Gasification Steam Plant replaced four of the Laboratory's six natural gas boilers, and will be supplemented by the remaining two gas boilers to provide steam for the Laboratory's thermal needs. The new $164 million Biomass Cogeneration Facility at the Savannah River Site replaced a 1950s era coal plant, and was designed to provide enough steam capacity to satisfy the Site's thermal requirements and a significant portion of the electrical demand. Because of the renewable benefits of biomass and the costs associated with ESPCs, we initiated this audit to determine if the Department is effectively and efficiently administering its ESPC-financed biomass projects."
Department of Energy, Office of Inspector General, Report No. DOE/IG-0892
U.S. Department of Energy: http://energy.gov/