The Merritt Green Energy Project (MGE) will not break ground in February as previously expected, but construction on the site of the future biomass plant is still set to begin in the coming months.

Fadi Obari, senior vice-president of Dalkia (the company building MGE), told the Herald construction is expected to begin by about April.

“It’s going to happen,” he said.

Obari said there are no hurdles for this project, and it’s just a matter of finalizing the contracts and closing the financing for the Merritt project.

“These projects are pretty complex. You have lots of parties involved,” he said.

“It’s the same configuration that we have in Fort St. James, so most of the contracts between the parties are already agreed upon and it’s a matter of just translating them for Merritt, and it takes time,” Obari said.

In November, the Vancouver Sun reported that the other biomass plant being built in Fort St. James closed a $175 million debt financing to support construction of that 40-megawatt, $235 million biomass plant.

The Merritt project is expected to close at roughly the same amount of money, Obari said.

Obari said construction began on the Fort St. James project the day they closed the financing.

Iberdrola Ingenieria, a Spanish multinational energy company, was awarded the contracts to build the Fort St. James and Merritt biomass plants.

Tolko is a partner in supplying fuel to the MGE project with Dalkia, the company that will also operate and maintain the plant in addition to supplying it with fuel.

In the Fort St. James project, Dalkia has its own bio-energy license, Obari said.

Five banks are lending money in the projects, and Dalkia and Fengate Capital are the two equity owners in the projects.

“These multi-million dollar developments, they take time and all the pieces have to come together,” City of Merritt planning and development manager Sean O’Flaherty said. “They’re getting there.”