GYPSUM, Colo. (CBS4) – A one-of-a kind project in the high country will turn trees killed by the pine beetle into energy.

It’s still got a ways to go, but by the end of the year the biomass plant in Gypsum should be up and running, giving 10 megawatts of power for communities throughout the central mountains to use. That’s enough for about 7,000 homes.

Sen. Mark Udall says energy isn’t the only benefit from the plant.

“It’s clean burning, it’s carbon neutral, we’re going to see 100 jobs created here. It’s a win, win, win,” Udall said.

Gypsum Mayor Steve Carver said at first he was skeptical.

“It was like everybody else, we had questions. So we automatically said, ‘Prove it, prove that to us,’ and they did,” Carver said. “They proved it without a doubt that it is not going to impact the area as far as contaminants.”

“We’re going to bring the slash, the beetle kill, the timber that has no other marketable uses off our forest, burn it here rather than see it burn in the middle of catastrophic wildfires,” Udall said.

Between construction and operation the plant will create 100 jobs for the small town.

“We’re going to see a profitable operation here, create jobs that will result in forests that are healthier and homegrown American energy,” Udall said. “I can’t think of anything better.”


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