– by Tux Turkel, May 22, 2018, Portland Press Herald
The University of Maine in Orono would get much of its heat and electricity from an on-campus Renewable Energy Center fueled by locally harvested wood and a huge solar array, according to a plan being negotiated by the university system and Honeywell International.
The outline of Honeywell’s power contract proposal is contained in a document prepared for the University of Maine System last year in response to requests for proposals to transition most of the Orono campus from natural gas and fuel oil to renewable energy. Honeywell’s proposal was a runner-up in the original RFP process. The financial section is heavily redacted and omits any information about the cost of the power contract, although it has been estimated to be worth more than $100 million.
– by Emery Cowan, May 26, 2018, Arizona Daily Sun
APS is looking for new proposals that would use the small trees and branches from Arizona forests to generate a small portion of the energy the utility sends to customers around the state.
The idea is to provide a market for woody material that needs to be thinned from overcrowded, high-risk forests in northern and eastern Arizona in order to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, improve forest health and benefit watersheds.
There’s one big problem, though, according to the head of the state’s only utility-scale biomass power plant.
– by Avory Brookins, June 1, 2018, Rhode Island Public Radio
Photo: Oregon Department of Forestry
A Rhode Island bill that could have cleared the way for biomass power plants won’t move forward this legislative session.
Biomass is wood waste that is burned to generate electricity. It’s also considered a renewable resource.
The bill would have included biomass in the state’s “net-metering” program, which gives credits to customers for extra power generated by renewables, such as solar and wind, that flows back into the electrical grid. Those credits can lower ratepayers’ utility bills.
– by Avory Brookins, May 21, 2018, Rhode Island Public Radio
Photo: Rhode Island Public Radio
Environmentalists and green energy companies in Rhode Island are at odds over a bill that could advance the development of biomass power plants in the state.
Biomass is organic material, such as wood, that can be burned to produce energy. The Environmental Protection Agency also considers it a renewable resource.
However, biomass is not included in the state’s “net-metering” program, which applies to other renewable technologies, such as solar and wind.
– by Kurt Liedteke, April 15, 2018, Herald and News
After countless meetings, hearings, discussions and planning, all hurdles have been cleared for construction of a new renewable energy biofuels plant in Lake County.
Red Rock Biofuels, a Colorado-based company established in 2011, has had its sights set on Lakeview since 2013 as a target location to build its first operational facility; identifying the location for its proximity to rail, highways, the Ruby natural gas pipeline and an abundance of forest bi-products to be collected and converted to jet fuel.
– April 23, 2018, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Today, during a meeting with Georgia forestry leaders, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt discussed the importance of environmental stewardship and announced a new decision on the carbon neutrality of forest biomass.
“Today’s announcement grants America’s foresters much-needed certainty and clarity with respect to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Managed forests improve air and water quality, while creating valuable jobs and thousands of products that improve our daily lives. This is environmental stewardship in action.”
In the meeting with members of the forestry community, Administrator Pruitt announced the Agency issued a statement of policy making clear, that future regulatory actions on biomass from managed forests will be treated as carbon neutral when used for energy production at stationary sources. The Agency will also be assessing options for incorporating non-forest biomass as carbon neutral into future actions.
– by Josh Schlossberg, March 8, 2017, Boulder Weekly
Conservationists are challenging a logging proposal that would clear-cut 1,300 acres in the White River National Forest northeast of Aspen, including endangered Canada lynx habitat and units adjacent to the protected Woods Lake Roadless Area.
The Upper Fryingpan Vegetation Management Project covers 1,848 acres in the Aspen/Sopris Ranger District in Eagle and Pitkin Counties, Colorado, with the goal of providing lumber and biomass energy, increasing the diversity of tree age and size, and creating snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) habitat, the primary food source of the Canada lynx (Lynx canadensis).
However, a formal objection filed by Denver-based forest management analyst and consultant Rocky Smith, along with representatives from Rocky Mountain Wild, Rocky Mountain Recreation Initiative and a chapter of Great Old Broads for Wilderness, alleges the project would instead degrade habitat for lynx and other wildlife, disturb soils and watersheds, and impact scenery. Objectors say the U.S. Forest Service must draft an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to detail the project’s potential harm to ecosystems and offer alternatives that would shrink its footprint.