[NEWS] Burney, California Biomass Facility Gets 5 Year Reprieve
– by Nathan Solis, November 19, 2016, Redding Record Searchlight
With a stroke of a pen in September, Gov. Jerry Brown gave a five-year reprieve to workers at a biomass facility and associated lumber mill in Burney.
In signing Senate Bill 859, Brown set in motion steps that temporarily saved the biomass facility and sawmill Shasta Green from having to shut down and sending more than 80 people to the unemployment line. Assemblyman Brian Dahle, R-Bieber, amended the bill that allocates $900 million in cap and trade funds to various initiatives to also require electricity retailers to enter into five-year contracts with biomass facilities using wood harvested from fire hazard zones.
PG&E earlier this year planned to cancel its contract with Burney Forest Power because the utility company was paying more for energy from Burney Forest Power than it could recoup from customers. Without PG&E as a customer — the utility buys 92 percent of all biomass energy produced in the sate — Burney Forest Power planned to close and lay off its 25 employees. Shasta Green would also shut down because of its symbiotic relationship with the biomass plant — Shasta Green provides the wood chips to Burney Forest Power to fuel the biomass processes and in exchange Burney Forest sends back steam Shasta Green uses in its drying sheds.