DeKalb approves green energy plant

DeKalb County’s yard waste is on its way to be turned into energy.

The county commission voted 6-1 Tuesday to sell its wood chips, grass clippings and yard waste to Green Energy Partners LLC.

Green Partners plans to build a $50 million biomass plant in Lithonia. The yard waste, along with cooking oil and greases, will be burned and turned into electricity. The company hopes to contract with Georgia Power, said Green Energy managing director Neville Anderson.

Officials said it will create enough energy to power 7,000 houses. The 10 megawatt plant is expected to generate about $220,000 a year for DeKalb for the next 20 years.

The plant still must receive a permit from the state Environmental Protection Division.

The company is applying for federal stimulus funding to help build the plant, which will add $50 million of value to the county’s tax rolls.