Oak Ridge Biomass Steam Plant Already Closed

The wood-feeding system at the Biomass Steam Plant is pictured July 19, 2012, at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Image by MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL

Oak Ridge Biomass Steam Plant Already Closed

By Tiffany Johnson. CREATED Aug 25, 2014

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. (AP) - When Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Biomass Steam Plant opened in 2012, it was supposed to save the lab money while also cutting pollution. But the plant had to be shut down after just a year and a half when a systems check found that some parts were already failing.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reported Johnson Controls handled the financing and construction of the $60 million plant. The company was to be paid from the cost savings, estimated to reach $260 million over two decades.

An August 2013 audit by the Energy Department's Office of Inspector General was critical of the plant's "planning and operational costs," finding the project might incur as much as $67 million in unnecessary costs over its lifetime.

Johnson Controls spokeswoman Monica Zimmer declined to comment.

(Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)