– by Marc Benjamin, November 28, 2016, Fresno Bee
Photo: John Walker / Fresno Bee
Dead trees will continue being turned into electricity near Fresno for another five years after a biomass plant in Malaga got a contract to supply Southern California Edison.
The contract ends concerns that the facility, which employs 25 workers and has a $3.5 million annual payroll, could close soon. The plant’s contract was extended twice this year because of dead trees cut down in the Sierra.
The 24-megawatt plant was supposed to close Dec. 31 without a new contract. Utilities no longer were going to pay for electricity generation from biomass plants because the fixed price that supported the plants was expiring.
Biomass plants in Delano, Mendota, Dinuba, Terra Bella and Firebaugh have closed in recent years because of expired power purchasing agreements.
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– by Marc Benjamin, July 29, 2016, Fresno Bee
Photo: Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council
North Fork has a place to stack dead trees from the surrounding forest, but for now it’s only open to Madera County and Pacific Gas & Electric.
The log deck is at the town’s former sawmill site, the future site of a small bioenergy plant. The Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council has cleared 9 acres where dead trees will be stacked.
The log deck will help reduce fire danger in the forest by taking trees felled by the county Roads Department and PG&E. Eventually, the log deck yard will take trees from private contractors and homeowners. Fees will be charged to pay for transport and labor.
Initially, it will be open three days a week.
Madera County Supervisor Tom Wheeler said capacity at the mill site, about 350 truckloads of trees, will barely scratch the surface of the need in the North Fork area.
“We’re taking baby steps to start,” he said.
After being stacked, the trees will be trucked to a yard in Madera to be chipped and sent to the Rio Bravo biomass plant in Fresno for conversion into electricity.