Category Archives: forests

[NEWS] Financial Concerns Around Idle Texas Biomass Facility

– by Mark Lisheron, May 7, 2018, Texas Monitor

nacogdoches_texas-monitorFor almost six years, Austin Energy customers have been paying about $54 million a year for a power plant in East Texas not to produce biomass energy.

Those customers also paid $128 million to build the plant.

Nearly two years ago, the city of Austin hired a staff of attorneys to see if Austin Energy could get out from under a 20-year contract that even supporters of the wood-burning power plant came to see as a terrible deal for utility customers.

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[NEWS] Maine Utility Regulators Approve $1.2 Million Subsidy For Biomass Facility

– by Steve Mistler, April 5, 2018, Maine Public Radio

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Photo: Maine Public Radio

The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday to approve a $1.2 million taxpayer subsidy to an embattled biomass company operating two plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro.

The vote by the three-member commission largely followed the recommendation of PUC staff, which found last month that Stored Solar LLC met only one of its three contract obligations, while falling well short of the other two.

It maintained the agreed upon number of jobs, but purchased less than 40 percent of the waste wood it promised, and it spent $1 million less on capital expenditures than it was supposed to.

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[NEWS] University of Maine Energy Proposal Calls for Biomass, Solar

– by Tux Turkel, May 22, 2018, Portland Press Herald

University_of_Maine_sealThe 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.

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[NEWS] Arizona Biomass Developers Want Forest Service to Speed Up Forest Thinning

– by Emery Cowan, May 26, 2018, Arizona Daily Sun

5b08c54c0fe46.imageAPS 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.

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[NEWS] Rhode Island Biomass Bill Not Moving Forward This Year

– by Avory Brookins, June 1, 2018, Rhode Island Public Radio

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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.

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[NEWS] Rhode Island Biomass Bill Sparks Debate Between Environmentalists, Energy Developers

– by Avory Brookins, May 21, 2018, Rhode Island Public Radio

rhode island pr biomass

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.

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[NEWS] Forest Biofuel Facility Gets Go-Ahead in Oregon

– by Kurt Liedteke, April 15, 2018, Herald and News

red rockAfter 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.

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