The Rise Of Biomass Power  

Posted by Big Gav in

Biomass power is something I'm lukewarm about, but I'm still interested in tracking its (hopefully shortlived) growth as a response to rising energy prices. The New York Times has a report on developments in the US - As Biomass Power Rises, a Wood-Fired Plant Is Planned in Texas.

The city of Austin, Tex., approved plans on Thursday for a huge plant that will burn waste wood to make electricity, the latest sign of rising interest in a long-dormant form of renewable energy.

When completed in 2012, the East Texas plant will be able to generate 100 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 75,000 homes. That is small by the standards of coal-fired power plants, but plants fueled by wood chips, straw and the like — organic materials collectively known as biomass — have rarely achieved such scale.

Austin Energy, a city-owned utility, has struck a $2.3 billion, 20-year deal to be the sole purchaser of electricity from Nacogdoches Power, the company that will build the plant for an undisclosed sum. On Thursday, Austin’s City Council unanimously approved the deal, which would bring the Austin utility closer to its goal of getting 30 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.

“We saw this plant as very important because it gives us a diversity of fuels,” said Roger Duncan, general manager of Austin Energy. “Unlike solar and wind, we can run this plant night or day, summer or winter.”

More than 100 biomass power plants are connected to the electrical grid in the United States, according to Bill Carlson, former chairman of USA Biomass, an industry group. Most are in California or the Northeast, but some of the new ones are under development in the South, a region with a large wood pulp industry.

The last big wave of investment in the biomass industry came during the 1980s and early 1990s. Interest is rising again as states push to include more renewable power in their mix of electricity generation.

Last week, Georgia Power asked state regulators to approve the conversion of a coal plant into a 96-megawatt biomass plant. An additional 50-megawatt plant in East Texas is expected to be under construction by September.

Mike Whiting, chief executive of Decker Energy International, a developer and owner of four biomass plants around the country, estimates 15 to 20 new biomass plants are proposed in the Southeast, though not all will be built. The region is, he said, “the best part of the U.S. for growing trees.”

In California, which has the most biomass plants in the country, momentum is reviving after years of decline. The number of biomass plants has dropped to fewer than 30, from 48 in the early 1990s, because of the closing of many sawmills and the energy crisis early this decade, said Phil Reese of the California Biomass Energy Alliance. Six to eight of the mothballed plants are gearing up to restart, Mr. Reese said, helping California meet its renewable energy goals.



Renewable Energy Access reports the trend has spread to Hawaii - Hawaiian Coal-Fired Plant Being Converted to Burn Biomass.
U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka and U.S. Representatives Neil Abercrombie and Mazie Hirono helped launch Hawaii's newest renewable energy project at a Hawaiian blessing ceremomy for the Hu Honua Bioenergy Facility in the community of Pepeekeo, on the Big Island's Hamakua Coast.

Financed, operated and majority-owned by MMA Renewable Ventures, the 24-megawatt (MW) power station will convert locally grown biomass into electricity, supporting the state’s target of 20% renewable energy by 2020.

Local union leader Rickard Baker, division director of ILWU 142 Hawaii, said that more than 95% of the area’s residents approached have signed a petition in support of converting the coal-fired plant into a biomass-to-energy facility.

0 comments

Post a Comment

Ads

Ads

Statistics

Locations of visitors to this page

blogspot visitor
Stat Counter

Total Pageviews

Ads

Books

Followers

News

Loading...

Blog Archive

Labels

australia (570) global warming (358) solar power (325) peak oil (314) electric vehicles (188) wind power (169) renewable energy (159) ocean energy (152) csp (143) geothermal energy (142) smart grids (139) solar thermal power (133) tidal power (130) coal seam gas (125) nuclear power (121) oil (113) geothermal power (110) iraq (108) lng (107) green buildings (104) china (103) energy storage (101) solar pv (101) natural gas (97) agriculture (84) biofuel (75) oil price (75) smart meters (72) wave power (67) uk (63) energy efficiency (62) electricity grid (60) google (54) coal (52) internet (51) food prices (48) surveillance (48) bicycle (47) big brother (47) shale gas (46) thin film solar (41) biomimicry (38) canada (38) ocean power (37) scotland (36) new zealand (35) air transport (34) algae (34) water (34) credit crunch (31) politics (31) queensland (31) bioplastic (30) concentrating solar power (30) california (29) geoengineering (28) offshore wind power (28) population (28) cogeneration (27) saudi arabia (27) shale oil (27) resource wars (26) arctic ice (25) batteries (25) censorship (25) cleantech (25) woodside (25) bruce sterling (24) drought (24) ctl (23) economics (22) tesla (21) coal to liquids (20) distributed manufacturing (20) indonesia (20) iraq oil law (20) brightsource (19) carbon tax (19) limits to growth (19) origin energy (19) ultracapacitor (19) rail transport (18) santos (18) ausra (17) buckminster fuller (17) exxon (17) lithium (17) cellulosic ethanol (16) collapse (16) electric bikes (16) mapping (16) michael klare (16) ucg (16) geodynamics (15) iceland (15) psychology (15) atlantis (14) bees (14) concentrating solar thermal power (14) fertiliser (14) biodiesel (13) brazil (13) carbon emissions (13) ethanol (13) investment (13) kenya (13) al gore (12) ambient energy (12) biochar (12) cities (12) matthew simmons (12) public transport (12) texas (12) victoria (12) bucky fuller (11) cradle to cradle (11) desertec (11) energy policy (11) otec (11) terra preta (11) chile (10) fabber (10) goldman sachs (10) gtl (10) hybrid car (10) internet of things (10) lithium ion batteries (10) severn estuary (10) tinfoil (10) toyota (10) volt (10) alaska (9) amory lovins (9) biomass (9) carbon trading (9) esolar (9) fuel cells (9) gazprom (9) jeremy leggett (9) pge (9) sweden (9) afghanistan (8) arrow energy (8) big oil (8) distributed generation (8) eroei (8) floating offshore wind power (8) four day week (8) guerilla gardening (8) linc energy (8) methane hydrates (8) nanosolar (8) natural gas pipelines (8) pentland firth (8) relocalisation (8) us elections (8) western australia (8) antarctica (7) bloom energy (7) boeing (7) chp (7) climategate (7) copenhagen (7) fish (7) methane (7) stirling engine (7) vinod khosla (7) airborne wind turbines (6) apocaphilia (6) bolivia (6) ceramic fuel cells (6) cigs (6) futurism (6) jatropha (6) local currencies (6) nigeria (6) saul griffith (6) somalia (6) t boone pickens (6) ocean acidification (5) scenario planning (5) space based solar power (5) varanus island (5) garbage (4) kevin kelly (4) low temperature geothermal power (4) oled (4) tim flannery (4) v2g (4) club of rome (3) global energy grid (2) norman borlaug (2) peak oil portfolio (1)