Kremmling pellet plant poised to open next week
August 1, 2008
Colorado’s first pellet plant will open next Tuesday in Kremmling, creating renewable energy as well as dozens of jobs, says Confluence Energy CEO Mark Mathis.
“(It will) put the county on the map in the renewable energy business,” he said. “We are very excited about the quality of our product.”
Confluence Energy Pellet Plant will hire 25 people and create an additional 50 logging and truck driving jobs. The plant is seeking shift managers and production workers who are electricians or millwrights and are able to work on equipment.
Production jobs will pay $17 to $20 an hour, depending on skill level. Degrees are not required, Mathis said.
“We’ve had a lot of people who have applied,” he added.
Fifteen people are currently employed at the plant, he said.
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It started construction on the south edge of Kremmling in late November. “We’ve been working on that ever since,” Mathis said.
The company operated last week on a test phase, which went “great,” he said.
The plant produces pellets for home heating pellet stoves, commercial and industrial heating applications. Pellets are 60 percent cheaper than propane or electricity, and 35 percent less expensive than natural gas, Mathis said.
“The plant will put out a plume of steam in the winter, but is (mostly) all moisture from drying the chips,” he said. “Pellets are becoming quite popular due to the fact of rising fossil fuel prices and the clean burn you get from pellets versus fire wood. You can burn pellet stoves on no burn days in Denver.”
Beetle killed trees are being used to benefit the county to “provide a super economical” way to heat homes and businesses. “The trees are the feed stock we use to make the wood pellets,” Mathis added.
This is the first plant in Colorado, but another one is being built in Walden, he said.
To get ready for the opening Tuesday, the company is finishing its insulation and adding staff to the team. It also will inspect its sprinkler system one final time.
This will help the community become more environmentally friendly, and is a “win-win” situation for everyone, Mathis said. “Everyone can save money as well.”