February 5, 2016
Things were fairly quiet over the holidays but we have made some progress.
There is some interest by Assemblyman Bigelow’s office, at least at the staff level, to see if Liberty Utilities could be added to California SB 1122 which requires named utilities to purchase a minimum amount of electricity from biomass-to-bioenergy facilities with the biomass to come from the forest. Senator Gaines is aware of our efforts.
A meeting was held with the Forest Supervisor of the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) regarding the availability of excess biomass from the forest that could be feedstock for a biomass-to-bioenergy facility here in Alpine County. The good news is that they have far too much biomass and need somewhere to dispose of it. While we don’t have a formal fuels availability study it appears that between the LTBMU and the Humboldt-Toiyabe there might be a sufficient sustainable supply of biomass from the two forests within an economic trucking distance.
A short presentation on biomass-to-bioenergy was made to the Woodfords Community Council. As they represent about 25% of the County their participation will be important to the success of the project. A brief discussion was also held on the Cornerstone Project which was discussed in the last update. The Woodfords Community Council expressed strong interest in learning more about this project.
There are many hoops to jump through before we can be certain that a biomass-to-bioenergy facility could be viable in Alpine County. The two biggest hurdles are being assured of a sustainable supply of biomass and being able to sell the electricity generated at a rate that covers the cost. Subject to a formal biomass availability study we are reasonably sure that we have overcome the first hurdle. The second is going to take some time and will require gaining political support so that Alpine County is not at a disadvantage with respect to other counties in California when it comes to producing electricity from biomass.
All for now,