Viking Energy/McBain can produce up to 18 MW of power – enough for 14,000 average homes. It employs 21 people at the power plant and more than 50 other full-timejobs related to handling, processing and transporting the 225,000 tons of wood the plant uses as fuel each year.
The McBain biomass plant was built in 1988 in the McBain Industrial Park, where it is closely located to a number of forest products companies that provide some of the 225,000 tons of wood the plant uses each year for fuel.
Viking Energy/McBain, and its sister plant, Viking Energy/Lincoln, are owned by France-based Engie, one of the world's largest independent power producers, through its North American subsidiary.
Jobs at the plant include equipment operators, technicians and control room operators, plus maintenance, management and administration personnel.
Viking Energy/McBain sells its electricity to Consumers Energy, which provides power to millions of Michigan customers. The initial term of the power purchase agreement expires at the end of 2018 and the owners are working to ensure that the plants continue to produce electricity beyond this date.
The McBain power plant provides a market for low-value wood fiber, such as tops and limbs left over from timber harvest, plus bark, sawdust and similar wood byproducts generated from the forest products industry in the area. It spends about $4.5 million a year with local wood vendors.
Like many of Michigan's biomass plants, McBain blends a small amount of tire-derived fuel (TDF) into the wood fuel, which improves plant performance, reduces air emissions and ash, and helps resolve the problem of what to do with scrap tires that are banned from Michigan's landfills. All the TDF used at the McBain plant is regulated under the Michigan Scrap Tire Management Programand the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
Viking Energy/McBain is an important part of the McBain community, and surrounding areas of Missaukee, Osceola and Wexford counties. It provides jobs, a market for producers of low-value wood fiber, and supports the community through property taxes, and the goods and services it buys from local businesses. For nearly 30 years it has sponsored events in the community such as the annual Houston's Cow Camp Rodeo, vintage snowmobile races and various City beautification and environmental projects.