Category Archives: wildfire

[NEWS] Proposed California Biomass Facility Awarded $5 Million

– by Camptonville Community Partnership, March 29, 2017, Yuba.net

usa-camptonville-caThe planned community-scale Camptonville, California forest bioenergy power plant is proposed to receive $4.9MM in funding from the California Energy Commission as part of its Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) grant program, Demonstrate and Evaluate Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Woody Biomass-to-Electricity Systems category.

The project is one of two in the State that are proposed for funding, with the other being the Mariposa Biomass Project. Camptonville’s 3 MW direct combustion boiler steam turbine generator power plant will integrate advanced emissions controls and a state-of-the-art low water use condenser using the EPIC funding and will be the first of its kind in California.

READ MORE at Yuba.net

[NEWS] Court Overturns Gypsum, CO’s Condemnation of Biomass Facility Land

– by Jason Blevins, March 24, 2017, Denver Post

Eagle_Valley_captionAn Eagle County District Court has rejected the Town of Gypsum’s condemnation of land next to the Eagle River owned by a biomass plant operator, saying the town failed to follow its own rules for publicly announcing its eminent domain plans.

Judge Frederick Gannett said Gypsum’s town council “acted arbitrarily and took actions beyond its authority” when it approved an ordinance allowing the town to launch eminent domain proceedings against the landowner.

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[NEWS] Proposed California Biomass Energy Facility Would Use Dead Trees

– by Anna Simet, February 7, 2017, Biomass Magazine

mariposa_county_1486509590116-300x300-noupA proposed 2-MW biomass power project in California’s Mariposa County is one step closer to reality.

The Mariposa Biomass Project, a non-profit community group in Mariposa, California, recently closed escrow on two parcels for its future location, the group announced. It will be located in the Mariposa Industrial Park, near the Mariposa County Solid Waste Facility and PG&E substation.

The project received a USDA U.S. Forest Service 2016 Wood Innovations grant of $244,000, and is in the running to score a $5 million California Energy Commission EPIC grant. Stephen Smallcombe, the group’s CTO said that the EPIC grant is critical to the project moving forward. A similar biomass power plant in North Fork, California, currently being constructed by Phoenix Energy, was a previous EPIC grant recipient.

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[NEWS] Bioenergy Industry Praises Trump’s Nominee for Agriculture Secretary

– by Erin Voegele, January 19, 2017, Ethanol Producer Magazine

perdue-ethanol-producer-mag

Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue (Photo: Georgia Governor’s Office)

On Jan. 19, President-elect Donald Trump nominated former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue to lead the USDA. The nomination, which is subject to U.S. Senate confirmation, represents Trump’s final cabinet selection. Perdue served as Georgia governor from 2003 through 2011.

Members of the biofuels and bioenergy industries have spoken out in response to Perdue’s nomination, indicating they look forward to working with him to continue growing biofuel and bioenergy production.

The Biomass Power Association praised Perdue’s nomination. “Under Governor Perdue’s leadership, the state of Georgia embraced bioenergy in many forms, including biomass power,” said Bob Cleaves, president of Biomass Power Association. “The agriculture secretary plays an important role in overseeing forestry on federal lands. Biomass can help enhance forest health by providing a market for hazardous fuel removal.”

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[OPINION] Biomass Energy Facilities Can Worsen Air Pollution

[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Biomass Facilities Play Important Role in Improving Air Quality,” by Bruce Springsteen, Placer County Air Pollution Control District]

– by Jana Ganion, Energy Director, Blue Lake Rancheria

“Particulate matter pollution” — air-borne particles (visible and invisible) that seep into our lungs and environment — is now a proven, dire health hazard, and an environmental harm accelerant.

We can compare the crescendo of information around the health hazards of particulate matter air pollution to the public’s awakening to — and acceptance of — the health hazards of cigarettes. In the case of tobacco, we proceeded from physicians recommending smoking, to understanding that it absolutely causes cancer.

The certainty regarding the dangers of particulate matter air pollution has reached the same point: there is no doubt it damages health — from worsening asthma, to heart and lung disease, to shortened lifespans, and death.

Just type “particulate matter health” in your favorite internet search engine and glance at recommendations from non-partisan, trusted agencies such as the Centers for Disease Control, the Mayo Clinic, the World Health Organization, the Environmental Protection Agency , State of New York, and many others.

In an interesting recent article from the Wall Street Journal, “Does Poor Air Quality Hurt Stock-Market Returns?”, economist researchers from both Columbia University and University of Ottawa found that on bad-air days in New York City, when 2.5 micron particulate matter (PM2.5, invisible particles most dangerous to human health) were at high levels, stock market prices went down by ~12%. It seems that when people can’t breathe well, they get “risk averse.”

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[OPINION] Biomass Facilities Play Important Role in Improving Air Quality

[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Biomass Energy Facilities Can Worsen Air Pollution,” by Jana Ganion, Blue Lake Rancheria]

– by Bruce Springsteen, Compliance and Enforcement Manager, Placer County Air Pollution Control District

California biomass power plants provide an alternative to the open pile burning of woody forest and agricultural wastes as a means of disposal. By utilizing this significant renewable resource for clean and efficient power generation, biomass power plants avoid the significant air pollution from open pile burning and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

Presently California’s 22 biomass power plants, with individual capacity ranging from 10-50 MW, produce 530 MW of renewable and reliable baseload (24/7) electricity. Much of the biomass fuel for these plants is woody waste that is the byproduct of the sustainable management of California’s highly productive: (1) fruit and nut orchards in the Central Valley, and (2) forested lands through the foothills and mountains.

Fruit and nut orchard wastes include annual tree prunings and periodic removal of over-mature trees. Forest wastes – small diameter tree stems, tops, limbs, branches, and brush – are the product of fuel hazard reduction, forest health and productivity improvements, and traditional commercial harvest. Of concern is the pending increase in forest waste supply as land managers accelerate the scale and pace of fuels treatments to reduce the risk of high severity wildfire and to return forests to fire-resilient conditions in response to tree mortality (Stevens 2016) and the overly dense fuel condition resulting from a century of successful wildfire suppression (North et al. 2015, Dombeck et al. 2004).

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