[NEWS] Mariposa, California Biomass Project Awarded Forest Service Grant
– May 18, 2016, Sierra Sun Times
The Mariposa Biomass Project (MBP), a 501(c)3 corporation, has been awarded a USDA U.S. Forest Service 2016 Wood Innovations grant in the amount of $244,080 to use wood residues primarily from forests for electricity production. This will be accomplished by constructing a biomass power plant in Mariposa. The grant funds will be used to finalize site selection, secure an option to lease or purchase the property from the County of Mariposa, negotiate an agreement with a developer, complete permitting and studies necessary for the financing and construction of the facility and complete the PG&E System Impact Study.
The biomass power plant will have a capacity of ~2 MW to take advantage of California legislation (SB 1122) now titled BioMAT (Biomass Market Adjusting Tariff) that supports renewal biomass energy. At anticipated rates, this will provide the project with approximately $2 million to $2.5 million dollars of annual revenue, thus supporting not only local high paying jobs, but improving public safety and health.
The small community-based facility will utilize approximately 16,000 BDT of biomass per year from a 50-mile radius feedstock sourcing area, with 80% from eligible parts of the Stanislaus National Forest, Sierra National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management and other public and private forest lands according to a fuel availability study completed in August, 2015 by TSS Consultants. Forest-sourced biomass will come primarily from areas designated as high fire hazard. As a result of the current tree mortality disaster, where Mariposa County is ground zero, for the foreseeable future the feedstock will consist primarily of dead trees removed from around public infrastructure and homes. Long term, it is expected that the project will generate at least 10-20 jobs, some of which would be for facility operation and the rest from jobs required to process and transport biomass to the facility.. The project will reduce wildfire risk, increase public safety, improve forest health, and reduce the cost of forest management, while increasing the health and economic diversity of the surrounding community.