[Forest_Biomass] Biomass testimony from Eugene meeting
Kevin.Weeks at state.or.us
Thu Mar 5 11:34:53 PST 2009
Forest Biomass News list members:
Mike Cloughesy with the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) would like to share testimony drafted for Thursday night's public meeting of the Eugene Water and Electric Board regarding the Seneca Biomass energy project.
The document contains information you may find valuable for other presentations and may help start discussions regarding forest biomass energy in communities you interact with.
If you have specific questions regarding this testimony, I recommend contacting Joe Misek with ODF or Mike Cloughesy with OFRI directly.
Public Information Officer / Private Forests Division
Oregon Department of Forestry
kweeks at odf.state.or.us<mailto:kweeks at odf.state.or.us>
Testimony of the
Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group
to the Eugene Water and Electric Board
on the Seneca Biomass Project in Eugene
The Oregon Departments of Forestry and Energy established the Oregon Forest Biomass Working Group (FBWG) as directed by Senate Bill 1072 passed by the 2005 Oregon Legislature.
Membership of the FBWG includes representatives of the energy industry, legislature, non-governmental organizations, state agencies, federal agencies, forest industry, and entrepreneurs.
The FBWG has been addressing the following issues related to forest biomass: 1) predictable supply; 2) outreach to stakeholders and the public; 3) supportive regulatory environment; 4) research and development; 5) extraction, production, and infrastructure development; and 6) economics and market development.
In January 2007, the FBWG submitted its report to the Governor's Renewable Energy Working Group. Among the report's conclusions is that development of renewable energy using woody biomass should be supported at the state and federal levels. The report recognizes that use of woody biomass to coproduce electric energy and process heat that can be used for processes such as drying lumber is a good near-term way to produce renewable energy.
The Forest Biomass Working Group does not lend support or opposition to individual projects. However, we do believe that the Seneca biomass project, as we understand it falls within the type of projects included in the recommendations of our report. We also believe that the logging residues and byproduct residuals from local sawmills can provide a supplementary supply of feedstock without a drastic increase of harvesting levels.
The FBWG reviewed and supported the recommendations of a report by the Oregon Forest Resources Institute (OFRI) titled, Biomass Energy and Biofuels from Oregon's Forests, which is available to order or download on line at: www.oregonforests.org<http://www.oregonforests.org/> under publications. The OFRI report concluded that near term use of woody biomass for combined heat and power is the most likely use of large amounts of woody biomass.
The FBWG has also worked to support biomass removal from our forests when it occurs in an environmentally responsible manner using best management practices that look out for soil, plant, wildlife, air and water quality, Members of the FBWG reviewed and provided comments on a report submitted by the State Forester to the Governor and the Legislature on December 1, 2008 titled: Environmental Effects of Forest Biomass Removal. This report contained a literature search on the subject and also had findings and recommendations. Additional reports are to be submitted to the Legislature in the future.
One of the concerns raised regarding the Seneca Biomass Project is that there will not be enough mill residuals to meet the plant's fuel needs and that green trees will need to be cut to meet the fuel requirements of the power plant. We do not believe that this concern is founded on reliable information.
Information summarized in the OFRI report indicates that an average 18.8 MW electrical generating plant would burn approximately 132,000 bone-dry tons of wood waste annually. This is approximately equivalent to 264,000 green tons.
The OFRI report estimates that a total of 2 million bone-dry tons per year of woody biomass could be available from forest restoration thinning, juniper rangeland restoration, and logging residue. This is in addition to the mill residuals that are already being fully utilized by industry. Of these available sources of woody biomass, the one most applicable to the Seneca Biomass project to supplement mill residuals is logging residue.
Studies summarized in the OFRI report estimate that about 1.8 million bone-dry tons of logging residue is produced in Oregon annually. According to Oregon Department of Forestry timber harvest reports, about 24% of the state's timber harvest occurs in Lane and Douglas Counties, where Seneca owns timberland. This could lead to an estimated annual production of logging slash of about 432,000 BDT per year, in the two-county area.
Seneca manages about 165,000 acres of company land in Lane and Douglas Counties. This represents about 9% of the private timberland in those counties and since about 85% of recent Oregon timber harvest is from private lands, we estimate that about 33,000 bone-dry tons per year of logging residue could be produced annually from Seneca lands. So, about 25% of the fuel needed for the proposed plant could come from logging residue on Seneca lands. Additionally, very little of the available logging slash within a 50 mile radius of the Seneca facility is currently being utilized and could also be available for purchase by Seneca.
It should be noted that logging residue that is used in a woody biomass combined heat and power plant will not be burned in a slash burn. Combustion in a combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant is much more efficient and much less particulate matter is produced.
Thank you for the opportunity to present this testimony. If you have questions regarding this testimony, please contact Mike Cloughesy of the Oregon Forest Resources Institute at cloughesy at ofri.com.
Joe Misek Mike Cloughesy
FBWG Co-Chair FBWG Outreach Subgroup Co-Chair
Oregon Department of Forestry Oregon Forest Resources Institute
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