Our meeting on August 1st, 2017 at Turtle Rock Park was poorly attended with just 11 members of the public and agencies present. Nevertheless the presentation was informative and generated lots of questions.
Jason Davenport, Master Craftsworker with Mono County, described the funding, project design, costs savings and productivity of the Mono County thermal biomass boiler. The unit, which was manufactured in Germany, generates sufficient heat for Mono County’s Public Works buildings in Bridgeport, the coldest place in California. The feasibility study for the project was funded by the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District and a Sustainable Communities Planning Grant, and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy funded the purchase and installation of the boiler. The boiler was installed last fall and replaced an aging propane fueled boiler. Estimated operating costs for the biomass boiler were $24,600/year in comparison with the propane boiler cost of $74, 600/year producing a saving of $50,000/year. Biomass fuel primarily comes from municipal wood waste that was previously sent to a land fill, but the unit also uses excess biomass from the forest.
Participant updates included the following. Amy Horne, Saving the West, reported that the Annual Lake Tahoe Summit is August 22, at Valhalla Tahoe in South Lake Tahoe. Ron Hames reviewed possible locations for a wood processing campus, including BLM ground around Turtle Rock Park. David Griffith reported the Economic Development Administration (EDA) is interested in funding a feasibility study for a wood processing campus. David Griffith also reported that the EDA grant matching funds are reduced from 50% to 20% for Alpine County because of its designation as a disaster area. One possible source for the 20% matching funds is the Northern California Community Loan Fund.
The next meeting is set for Tuesday September the 5th at 6:00 pm at Turtle Rock Park. The subject of the meeting will be the economic development possibilities of a recreation economy and will feature presenters from the US Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency, the National Recreation Special Uses Program, and the Sierra Nevada Conservancy.
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The Alpine Biomass Committee is supported by a grant from the National Forest Foundation with funds coming from Region 5 of the U.S. Forest Service. This organization is an equal opportunity provider.