Tag Archives: fracking

[NEWS] Wisconsin Biomass Power Facility to Switch Over to Natural Gas This Summer

– by Thomas Content, June 19, Journal Sentinel

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Photo: We Energies

The plummeting price of natural gas and future environmental regulations are making utilities do things that were practically unheard of years ago, from shutting down nuclear plants to turning to natural gas for a variety of fuels in power plants.

Following the lead of Dominion Resources Inc., which shut down the Kewaunee Power Station nuclear power plant in Wisconsin three years ago, Chicago utility Exelon Corp. announced plans to shutter two Illinois nuclear plants early — unless the Illinois lawmakers agree to concessions that would allow the plants to be more cost-effective.

The moves are being driven by prices in the wholesale power market, including both the low cost of natural gas and the growing number of wind farms. Low-cost wind provides one-third of the electricity consumed in Iowa.

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Washington Bill Incentives Conversion of Last Coal Plant to Biomass or Natural Gas

– by Anna Simet, February 22, 2016, Biomass Magazine

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Photo: Transalta

Washington’s last coal-fired power plant may have a new incentive to convert to a cleaner fuel, rather than closing down in less than a decade.

SB 5575, which passed the Senate on Feb. 12 and was scheduled for public hearing in the House Committee on Technology and Economic Development on Feb. 23, would provide the 1,340-MW Centralia Coal Plant with sales and use tax exemptions, in the form of a remittance of tax paid, to encourage the coal-fired electric generation plant to convert to biomass energy or natural gas.

According to the bill summary, construction of new structures or renovation of existing structures for the purpose of the conversion would be tax exempt, including labor and services to construct the facility and the machinery, as well as equipment required for the conversion. The tax exemptions would be in the form of a remittance that wouldn’t be paid until the conversion of the facility is operationally complete, but not earlier than July 1, 2020.

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Southern Oregon University Scraps Plans for Biomass Heating

– by John Darling, February 22, 2016, Ashland Daily Tidings

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Photo: Ashland Daily Tidings

Environmentalists are celebrating Southern Oregon University’s decision not to install biomass burners to heat the campus, but rather to go with natural gas, which it presently uses, for about a third of the cost of biomass and virtually none of the carbon and particulate pollution.

After 15 months of deliberation, the Finance Committee of SOU’s Board of Trustees voted Thursday to ask the 2017 Legislature for $2.5 million for natural gas boilers to replace the aging gas boilers that were installed in the 1970s, says Ryan Brown, SOU spokesman. The vote was unanimous.

The choice ends consideration of biomass-fed boilers, which would been built near the SOU stadium and would have meant an endless stream of wood slash trucked in from surrounding forests — an idea that drew much local protest. The gas option has no environmental impact, he adds, as it just replaces a similar system.

“SOU is doing a great job of bringing the issue of sustainability and renewable energy to the community,” says Dominick DellaSalla, chief scientist of Geos Institute in Ashland. “That needs to happen if we’re going to deal with climate change … It’s a smart move for the university and I applaud them for rejecting the proposal to make the region worse for climate and pollution.” He testified before trustees recently.

Community activist John Fisher-Smith, who campaigned against biomass, said, “I’m excited and thrilled to hear the trustees made this decision. Biomass would have added to the problem of particulate pollution.” He adds it’s a “misunderstanding” put out by the U.S. Forest Service that biomass burning is carbon neutral.

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