– 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 David Sommerstein, December 29, 2017, North Country Public Radio
Photo: David Sommerstein
The biomass plant in Lewis County has a positive outlook for 2017, but big question marks after that. ReEnergy Holdings owns the plant in Lyonsdale that produces electricity from logging scraps. The plant’s future could have a big impact on loggers in the Tug Hill Plateau region.
The Lyonsdale plant went offline last spring because cheap natural gas was pushing down electricity prices. About twenty people were laid off. North Country loggers lost a big customer.
[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Massachusetts: A Clear Path Forward for Biomass Energy,” by Evan Dell’Olio, Director, External and Regulatory Affairs, Roberts Energy Renewables]
– by RG Cachat, Biochemist and Ecologist
The Commonwealth [of Massachusetts] is partnering with private landowners to create National pseudo-Forests, which are fronted as “conservation” while failing all tests of real-world conservation.
Forests owned by the State are being logged at drastic, nearly clear-cut levels and at unsustainable rates. The character of forests is being forced toward monocultures of pine and hemlock by suppressing succession to hardwoods. They are treated as plantations and their productivity is tracked, while vulnerable species studies are lacking. The State has seen the end of more than a dozen species in recent years with no change to tactics.
While billing the wholesale commercializing of public lands for resource extraction as “forest management” and “sustainable,” the state is creating habitats that suit only a small group of megafauna. The State is causing biodiversity crashes while touting biodiversity. Invasive plants are introduced and spread by creation of extremely disrupted habitats and logging roads. All species that are sensitive to repeated habitat change at extreme levels are threatened by state-sponsored pseudo-science.
Biomass is an appealing “easy out” for wasteful energy policies and land barons hungry for quick cash. This sweetheart deal for big landholders is sold as “carbon neutral,” when the facts show this to be a carbon hoax. Taxpayers are lured in by promises of cheap energy and reduced taxes on the myth that this practice is sustainable, or healthy for forests, people or the climate.
– by David Sommerstein, June 28, 2016, NCPR
Once a booming industry, biomass, producing electricity by burning trees or other organic matter, is getting hammered by low electricity prices and growing questions over whether it is renewable after all.
According to U.S. energy data, biomass produces more renewable energy in the United States than solar panels, comprising 1.6 percent of nationwide electricity production compared to 0.6 percent for solar. But the biomass industry is shrinking these days, not growing. A couple months ago, ReEnergy Holdings’ biomass plant in Lyonsdale, NY, went offline, in large part due to low electricity prices.
[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Wood Pellets: Don’t Cut and Burn Forests, Preserve Them As Carbon Sinks,” by Janet Sinclair of Concerned Citizens of Franklin County.]
– by Charlie Niebling, Partner, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions
A quiet revolution is taking place across the northeast. Heating with wood is finding broad new acceptance in applications from residential wood pellet stoves and boilers, to institutional and industrial pellet and chip heating of schools, businesses and hospitals.
Nothing new here, you say? Northeasterners have been heating with wood for almost 400 years, and Native Americans long before that. But we are not talking about your grandfather’s wood furnace, or the inefficient outdoor wood boilers that have given wood heating such a black eye.
New technologies that burn wood nearly as cleanly as propane and oil are making steady inroads into the northeastern market. It’s the ability to burn with efficient combustion that could lead to mainstream acceptance. Fully automated pellet systems of all sizes, bulk wood pellet delivery, refined and semi-dried wood chip fuels, and advanced technology boilers with smart emissions controls are making inroads and on the cusp of popular uptake.
– March 2, 2016, Associated Press
The Latest on a freight train derailment in western New York (all times local):
A 16-car freight train derailment in western New York has interrupted Amtrak passenger service between Chicago and New York City.
An Amtrak official says the eastbound Lake Shore Limited is being stopped Wednesday at Cleveland while the westbound train is being halted at Buffalo. Buses are being used to ferry passengers in both directions to stations in the two cities.
A Norfolk Southern train derailed last night in the town of Ripley, 60 miles southwest of Buffalo. Officials say the derailment shut down four sets of tracks. One has since reopened to CSX freight traffic. There’s no word on when the others will be open.
No injuries were reported.
More than 50 homes were evacuated because two tankers containing ethanol and one with propane derailed.
– by Ted Booker, February 18, 2016, Watertown Daily Times
Without a power purchase agreement, the ReEnergy Lyonsdale wood-chip-burning cogeneration plant could close in 60 to 90 days, according to company CEO Larry D. Richardson.
Operating at a loss because of low energy prices, the 22-employee plant on Marmon Road in the town of Lyonsdale will need to find a solution to stay open, Mr. Richardson said. One solution would be to establish a new energy contract with the state.
Mr. Richardson said employees at the 22-megawatt plant, along with loggers, were informed this week that the plant could be in its “final inning of activity.” He said the plant indirectly supports more than 100 jobs in the logging industry and has an annual economic impact of $15 million to $20 million. ReEnergy does business with 52 loggers in the north country.
Mr. Richardson said possible closure comes as wholesale energy prices have plummeted by about 40 percent over the past year.
“Last year at Lyonsdale we lost well in excess of a million dollars, and that is not a sustainable business. Either we identify a solution in the very near future, or we’re going to be forced to shut down,” he said, likening the situation to the 2012 closure of the company’s 21-megawatt plant in Chateaugay.