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Biomass Center to bring 300 jobs to Fair Haven area

Rutland County will become home to a renewable energy-powered, year-round local food growing and wholesale Grower’s Hub under an agreement announced by Beaver Wood Energy and Vermont Hydroponic Produce. The planners promise to add 300 new jobs to the area—25 jobs at the biomass power plant, 25 jobs at the pellet manufacturing facility,100 jobs at the greenhouses and Grower's Hub and another 150 jobs in the forest industry.  Photo: Architect's CGI of Fair Haven Biomass plant along U.S. Route 4.

Rutland County will become home to a renewable energy-powered, year-round local food growing and wholesale Grower’s Hub under an agreement announced by Beaver Wood Energy and Vermont Hydroponic Produce. The planners promise to add 300 new jobs to the area—25 jobs at the biomass power plant, 25 jobs at the pellet manufacturing facility,100 jobs at the greenhouses and Grower's Hub and another 150 jobs in the forest industry. Photo: Architect's CGI of Fair Haven Biomass plant along U.S. Route 4.

— Rutland County will become home to a renewable energy-powered, year-round local food growing and wholesale Grower’s Hub under an agreement announced by Beaver Wood Energy and Vermont Hydroponic Produce.

Project planners promise to add 300 new jobs to the area—25 jobs at the biomass power plant, 25 jobs at the pellet manufacturing facility,100 jobs at the greenhouses and Grower's Hub and another 150 jobs in the forest industry.

Under the plan, Vermont Hydroponic Produce LLC, headquartered in Florence, will build a 10-acre greenhouse complex adjacent to the proposed Fair Haven Biomass Energy Center along U.S. Route 4 near the Vermont-New York state line.

Using low-grade steam, waste heat and waste water from the biomass power plant, Vermont Hydroponic Produce LLC plans to grow tomatoes and other vegetables year-round.

"Our current Vermont business is ready to grow, to take-off really," said Jeff Jones, a Middlebury resident and managing partner of Vermont Hydroponic Produce. "By partnering with a renewable energy facility, we can turn low grade heat, which has little usefulness to the power or pellet manufacturing facility into our affordable energy. This is a great chance to grow our closed-loop, completely sustainable and renewable local food model," he added.

Vermont Hydroponic Produce LLC will also site an expansion of their Growers Hub service at the Energy Center. Grower's Hub is the company's innovative, high-tech system that brokers the sale and transfer of locally grown food from smaller, independent growers to buyers from large grocery stores all over the North East. Supermarket chain Price Chopper is a current Grower's Hub customer.

“The Fair Haven Biomass Energy Center will be one of the most efficient and innovative facilities in the nation,” said Tom Emero from Beaver Wood Energy.

The proposed Fair Haven Biomass Energy Center now includes a 30MW biomass power converting sustainably harvested local waste wood into enough locally produced, base-load power for 34,000 homes, a wood-pellet manufacturing business that recycles thermal energy from the power plant to make enough clean pellets to heat 27,000 homes, and a 10-acre greenhouse complex allowing a major business expansion for Vermont Hydroponic Produce.

“This is a huge economic development opportunity for our town and our region. We need the good-paying, green economy jobs promised by the Fair Haven Energy Center,” said Claire Stanley. “We now look to our state for their leadership in making this big opportunity happen.”

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