– by Elizabeth Dunbar, April 3, 2017, Minnesota Public Radio
Photo: Tim Post / MPR
Xcel Energy and the western Minnesota city of Benson have reached an agreement on a plan to mitigate the expected closure of a biomass power plant that burns turkey litter.
Benson Power, owned by a group of investors, started producing electricity in 2007, helping Xcel fulfill a legislative mandate dating back to a 1994 settlement over nuclear waste storage at its Prairie Island plant. But Xcel says biomass power now costs up to 10 times more than new wind power, and city officials said the plant could close within a couple years.
– by Pam Eggmeier, January 24, 2017, SaukValley.com
City leaders gathered Tuesday to learn more about two possible business ventures – one that would be run by the city, and the other by a private company.
The Committee of the Whole heard presentations by Magellan, the city’s broadband consultant, and Green Vision International. The meetings give council members an opportunity to discuss particular issues at length, but no action is taken.
Green Vision International has been working with the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center at the University of Illinois on a biomass recycling project that could be launched commercially in Rock Falls.
– by Erin Voegele, October 25, 2016, Biomass Magazine
On Oct. 25, the USDA announced it is investing more than $300 million to help hundreds of small businesses adopt renewable energy sources or implement more efficient energy options. The investment includes $327 million to support 423 businesses through the Rural Energy for America Program and a $68 million loan awarded to the Pedernales Electric Cooperative of Johnson City, Texas, through the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Loan Program to fund system-wide energy efficiency improvements to assist a rural portion of the co-op’s service territory.
Bioenergy-related REAP awards made through the current round of funding include:
CONFERENCE CALL AUDIO: Intro to Bioenergy (August 2016)
We speak with Ken Starcher, co-author of the new book, “Introduction to Bioenergy,” which takes a close look at the procurement and generation of biomass power and heating, and liquid transportation biofuels, while examining environmental impacts
The Biomass Monitor conference calls are held the 3rd Thursday of every month. For the recording of this call and notice of future calls, go to thebiomassmonitor.org and subscribe to our free, monthly online journal investigating the whole story on bioenergy, biomass, and biofuels.
– by Daisy Simmons, September 9, 2016, Yale Climate Connections
Photo: Yale Climate Connections
Biofuel is now helping power United Airlines flights out of Los Angeles.
United began mixing biofuel with traditional jet fuel earlier this year. The biofuel is made from waste products like animal fats and manure. This farm waste would otherwise rot and produce methane, a potent global-warming gas.
Angela Foster-Rice is the managing director of environmental affairs and sustainability for United. She says the biofuel emits 60 percent less carbon dioxide than regular fuel over its lifecycle.
– by Ben Barber, September 9, 2016, Huffington Post
Worldwide air pollution caused 5.5 million deaths in 2013 from lung cancer stroke, bronchitis and other diseases — more than malaria or AIDS; And the cost of pollution-related illness and deaths is $255 billion in lost labor last year, the World Bank said in a new report on Sept 8.
One tenth of all deaths in 2013 came from air pollution, said the World Bank.
But the real cost is even higher – more than $5 trillion in 2013 a year – when the Bank economists included what they call “welfare costs” – the money people would be willing to pay to prevent an early death.
– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor
One-quarter of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2015 came from wind (21%) and solar (6%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, 43% was from generated from bioenergy, combusting trees, crops, manure, and trash for electricity and/or heat, or converting these materials into liquid transportation fuels.
So where do the nation’s largest and most influential environmental groups stand on bioenergy, the largest source of renewables?
The Biomass Monitor contacted representatives for the following organizations (listed alphabetically) to determine their stances on biomass power and heating, liquid biofuels for transportation, and trash incineration: 350*, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation*, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and Stand (formerly Forest Ethics).
*350 and National Wildlife Federation representatives didn’t respond to repeated inquiries, so organizational platforms are based on information found online.