The state commission's Dec. 15 certification paves the way for the specialty papermaker to reduce its use of coal by more than 50,000 tons annually-a reduction of up to 50%-and provide an important new source of renewable energy to the State of Ohio and the U.S. Midwest electricity grid by late 2011.
The certification will further SMART Papers' drive to substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions as it completes the transition to renewable energy production. All other required state and federal agency permits have been secured.
Cellulosic fuel pellets will be used to replace a large portion of coal used at the co-generation plant, substantially reducing the total amount of fossil fuels consumed by SMART Papers. The pellets are manufactured from non-recyclable paper and biomass materials that traditionally have been directed to landfill.
The company's co-generation facility produces electricity for its own use. Excess energy is sold to the U.S. Power Transmission Grid and is distributed across Ohio and the central U.S. via the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (Midwest ISO).
State of Ohio law requires that at least 25 percent of electricity sold in the state by electric distribution utilities and electric services companies must be generated from alternative energy sources by the year 2025. Under law, at least half of this energy must come from renewable sources.
"The state utility commission's ruling enables us to help Ohio meet its requirement for renewable energy supply," said Dan Maheu, president of SMART Papers. "This is a powerful example of how manufacturers can cost-efficiently reduce dependence on fossil fuels-and put excess renewable energy on the U.S. electricity grid."
The Hamilton papermaking center, in operation since 1893, is where coated printing papers for magazines were invented and first produced. Since the early 1980s, SMART Papers has been a pioneer in the use of recycled waste in its paper products. Today, the company produces premium coated printing and packaging papers with up to 100% post-consumer waste content.