A proposal to turn orchard wood into electricity has been scheduled for an Aug. 31 vote by the Modesto Irrigation District board.
The district Friday released a 237-page document with responses to concerns raised about the project.
Most of the concerns dealt with whether the plant would improve air quality and have an adequate wood supply. In both cases, the authors said it would.
The 33-megawatt plant in the Beard Industrial Tract, south of Yosemite Boulevard, would provide 8 percent of the MID's power demand.
It is proposed by Stephen Endsley of Modesto, a real estate investor and retired cardiologist, and Robert Ellery, who owns a Hayward boiler company.
They would sell the power to the MID under a contract up for a board vote on the 31st. The price has not been disclosed.
The partners are counting on a federal economic stimulus grant to cover 30 percent of the $80 million-plus cost of construction.
The plant would burn about 375,000 tons of chipped wood each year from Stanislaus, Merced and San Joaquin counties.
Most of it would be from nut and fruit orchards removed to make way for new plantings or development. The wood could include pruned limbs from living trees and waste from construction sites.
Supporters have said the plant would have unprecedented controls on its emissions, notably noxious oxides, which contribute to respiratory trouble.
Critics say this claim is unproved and that the operation would pollute via the diesel trucks that collect the fuel.
The project is intended to reduce the amount of orchard wood burned in the open.
Critics say most of this burning has been phased out, so the plant would not provide a net benefit. Supporters note that some open burning continues under exemptions to the phase-out.