– 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 Christin Ayers, September 24, 2017, CBS SF Bay Area
Photo: SF Gate
Deep in California, in the Sierra National Forest, there are more dead trees than live ones. And figuring out what do with them is a towering task.
Forest Supervisor Dean Gould sees the evidence every day of the state’s massive tree die-off, a crisis that’s claimed more than 102-million trees over eight million acres in the past seven years.
“It’s unprecedented. A whole variety of conditions had to happen simultaneously and they did,” Gould said.
– by Anna Simet, August 23, 2017, Biomass Magazine
Photo: Biomass Magazine
The Arizona Corporation Commission has ordered Arizona Public Service to evaluate forest bioenergy as part of its resource portfolio.
A May memorandum from Commissioner Boyd Dunn instructed the opening of a docket to explore forest bioenergy, and its current role and impact in Arizona. The memo emphasized the important role forest bioenergy serves in maintaining Arizona’s forests, woodlands, and watersheds while creating energy for the grid. “Our history is riddled with examples of the devastating economic, cultural, and ecological impact of Arizona wildfires,” it stated. “In addition, state watersheds, including streams, lakes and reservoirs are at risk of contamination from hazardous runoff coming from the burned areas. Maintaining healthy forests and woodlands through on-the-ground restoration activities reduces the risk and severity of these wildfires.”
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Can Logging Forests for Biomass Energy Prevent Wildfire?
Will Western Communities Adapt to Climate-Driven Wildfire?
OPINION: Biomass Energy Facilities a Tool for Dealing with Forest Fuels by John Buckley, Central Sierra Environmental Resource Center
OPINION: The Fallacies of Forest “Thinning” for Fire Management by Chad Hanson, John Muir Project
In August, The Biomass Monitor hosted a debate between Chad Hanson, Ph.D., Director and Principal Ecologist for John Muir Project of Earth Island Institute and David Atkins, former Forest Service ecologist and forester and current president of Treesource, over the effectiveness of cutting trees in backcountry forests to limit the spread and intensity of wildfire.
Subscribe to quarterly email issues of The Biomass Monitor to receive the recording in the fall issue. Subscribers can also contact email@example.com and we’ll get you the link right away.
– by Emery Cowan, May 27, 2017, Arizona Daily Sun
Photo: Jake Bacon / Arizona Daily Sun
Three and a half years after taking over the largest stewardship contract in the Forest Service’s history, Good Earth Power AZ has new leadership that is looking to turn the company’s troubled operations around.
“The tactical execution hasn’t happened on this project, what we are trying to bring to it is tactical execution,” said Bill Dyer, the company’s new chief operating officer. “I can’t really change what has happened in the past, but we are trying to do the best we can to make it right.”
– by Rylan Boggs, May 30, 2017, Blue Mountain Eagle
Two biomass processing facilities are expected to be up and running in Grant County this summer.
Utilizing low-value vegetation from the Malheur National Forest, the Iron Triangle plants in Seneca and John Day will initially produce posts, poles and chips and could move into torrefied products, if the market is available. Torrefaction is the process of baking biomass into a coal-like fuel that can be burned.
The market for torrefied material depends on the Portland General Electric power plant in Boardman converting from burning coal to torrefied material, according to King Williams of Iron Triangle. PGE planned to convert the plant to biomass or shut it down entirely by 2020.