– 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.
– by Erin Voegele, February 13, 2018, Biomass Magazine
U.K.-based Active Energy Group plc has announced its CoalSwitch plant in Utah officially became operational the week of Feb. 5 and is producing the company’s high-calorific, high-bulk-density biomass pellet. Active Energy said biomass fuel produced at the facility will be prepared for delivery under offtake agreements that are already in place.
According to the company, CoalSwitch is produced primarily from forestry waste and other industrial cellulose waste products. The product can be fired with coal in existing coal-fired power plants at any ratio, up to 100 percent.
– by Scott Thistle, January 10, 2018, Portland Press Herald
Photo: Ben McCanna / Press Herald
Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he opposes a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry.
In a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, LePage said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands.
The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.
– by Trudy Balcom, December 15, 2017, White Mountain Independent
Arizona Public Service has released a preliminary study for greater inclusion of biomass in its energy portfolio — something that could have a positive impact on forest industry and wildfire prevention.
The 90-day study was completed and presented to the Arizona Corporation Commission on Dec. 5.
APS, who serves 1.2 million customers statewide and part of the White Mountains, was required to complete the study in order to secure approval from the Commission for a rate increase for APS customers. The increase will allow the utility to collect an additional $95 million in revenues.
– December 14, 2017, WWNY
With less than two weeks to go before Christmas, there’s some bad economic news from Lewis County. A business is closing its doors – affecting more than 100 jobs in the region.
The ReEnergy plant in Lyonsdale is pulling the plug on its biomass energy plant on December 29.
The plant, which turns north country wood into electricity, employs 22 people. It also supports more than 100 jobs in other industries such as logging and trucking.
– by Olivia Adams, October 15, 2017, The Red and Black
Photo: Fast Company
Wood pellets used for biomass energy, an alternative to fossil fuels, are produced right outside of Athens, but do not expect to see biomass energy adopted here. Those pellets are shipped straight to Europe, and new University of Georgia research shows why.
“With global warming, we really want to reduce carbon emissions,” said Dr. Richard Bin Mei, co-author of a study on biomass-produced electricity. “In the United States, unfortunately, we do not have the mandate or government subsidies, so our study looked at whether it is economically feasible to co-fire wood pellets with coal to produce power, and the answer is no, unless the government does the same thing as the EU.”