U.S. Forest Service awards renewable wood energy grants to California, totaling more than $300,000 and contributing to 75 jobs
VALLEJO, Calif., July 26, 2012 – The U.S. Forest Service announced today that three renewable wood energy projects were approved totaling $329,225. The grants are expected to help create more than 75 jobs in economically-distressed areas of rural California.
“These grants will help dispose of materials that increase fire danger and reduce smoke pollution while creating renewable energy for California,” said Randy Moore, Pacific Southwest Regional Forester. “This is truly a win-win since these projects create sustainable jobs and renewable energy from excess forest biomass that could otherwise contribute to catastrophic wildfires.”
The projects are as follows:
1) Cal Fire, Conservation Camp Woody Biomass Heating
The Forest Service is providing a total of $124,875 to Cal Fire to complete final engineering and cost analysis of proposed biomass heating projects at two State of California Conservation Camps: Devils Garden (near Alturas, Modoc County) and Trinity River (near Weaverville, Trinity County). Conservation Camps house low-risk incarcerated individuals who provide labor for natural resource projects, such as hazardous fuels reduction, when they are not working on wildfires. There are 37 Conservation Camps in California. It is estimated about 50 percent have good access to woody biomass fuel for heating systems because of their locations in rural areas. The Devils Garden and Trinity River Conservation Camp projects could potentially save tax payers millions of dollars over the expected service life of the equipment (about 30 years).
2) Plumas Rural Services, Loyalton Biomass Power Plant Revitalization
The Forest Service has awarded a grant of $70,125 to Plumas Rural Services to help obtain the necessary engineering services to complete the purchase and restart Sierra Pacific Industries’ Loyalton Biomass Power Plant. The plant was closed in 2010 because of low power prices, but a new owner will open up different market options. The Loyalton Biomass Power Plant was the largest private, year-round employer in Sierra County before it closed, with 19 jobs on-site and another 50 jobs off-site in the supply chain. The unique partnership between Plumas Rural Services and Sierra Pacific Industries will significantly benefit the economic well-being of a rural county, and reopen a critical disposal site for excess urban, agricultural and forest woody biomass from both private and public lands.
3) Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, North Fork Combined Heat and Power
The Forest Service approved $134,225 to complete the design and engineering services for installation and commissioning of a small biomass gasification unit on a former sawmill site in the rural community of North Fork, California. The gasifier will generate about 1.0 megawatt of electricity. Project proponents expect to recruit other businesses to use the waste heat from the gasification process. The size of the project and its location in a small, rural community may serve as a model for similar communities in California located near abundant supplies of excess forest biomass.
For more information on all of the grants nationally please go to: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/news/newsreleases/releases/20120726a.shtml or