Letters

Letters 07-25-2016

Remember Bush-Cheney Does anyone remember George W. Bush and Dick Cheney? They were president and vice president a mere eight years ago. Does anyone out there remember the way things were at the end of their duo? It was terrible...

Mass Shootings And Gun Control The largest mass shooting in U.S. history occurred December 29,1890, when 297 Sioux Indians at Wounded Knee in South Dakota were murdered by federal agents and members of the 7th Cavalry who had come to confiscate their firearms “for their own safety and protection.” The slaughter began after the majority of the Sioux had peacefully turned in their firearms...

Families Need Representation When one party dominates the Michigan administration and legislature, half of Michigan families are not represented on the important issues that face our state. When a policy affects the non-voting K-12 students, they too are left out, especially when it comes to graduation requirements...

Raise The Minimum Wage I wanted to offer a different perspective on the issue of raising the minimum wage. The argument that raising the minimum wage will result in job loss is a bogus scare tactic. The need for labor will not change, just the cost of it, which will be passed on to the consumer, as it always has...

Make Cherryland Respect Renewable Cherryland Electric is about to change their net metering policy. In a nutshell, they want to buy the electricity from those of us who produce clean renewable electric at a rate far below the rate they buy electricity from other sources. They believe very few people have an interest in renewable energy...

Settled Science Climate change science is based on the accumulated evidence gained from studying the greenhouse effect for 200 years. The greenhouse effect keeps our planet 50 degrees warmer due to heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere. Basic principles of physics and chemistry dictate that Earth will warm as concentrations of greenhouse gases increase...

Home · Articles · News · Other Opinions · Biomass gets final look...
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Biomass gets final look April 7

Ed Rice - April 5th, 2010
Biomass gets final look April 7
By Ed Rice
On April 7, Traverse City Light & Power will hold a final public forum
to help choose an appropriate new source of local renewable energy.
More than 300 people attended two forums in February where they
offered diverse ideas about efficiency, and power from solar, wind,
and other fuels that should be added to the L&P energy portfolio. They
also expressed concern about the utility’s proposal to build a wood
biomass plant.
In the weeks since, TCL&P subjected these ideas to rigorous analysis
to determine their effect on electric rates, the environment, and
jobs. During the April 7 forum, which starts at 7:00 p.m. at the
Hagerty Center, we’ll share those findings and ask again, “What do you
think?”
At the end of this year, a coal-fired power contract that supplies
half of TCL&P’s energy requirements expires. For a number of years,
L&P has explored the best way to replace the power that will no longer
be available from that contract. We view this deadline as an
opportunity to acquire 30 percent of our power by 2020 from local
renewable energy.
L&P has already purchased 10 megawatts of wind energy, two megawatts
of landfill gas, and anticipate installing new solar energy. However,
even with our aggressive efficiency program, forecasts show L&P needs
30 more megawatts of reliable baseload power beginning in 2011.
Because wind and solar are intermittent, they won’t solve the
problem. Coal-fired power and natural gas are available, but they are
not renewable. Natural gas also is subject to volatile price swings.
After careful study, TCL&P is exploring the possibility of building a
state-of-the-art, clean burning, wood biomass gasification plant that
produces both electricity and heat. While there is disagreement on
this issue, both state and federal officials say that when proper
sustainable forestry practices are undertaken, woody biomass is
considered both renewable and CO2 neutral.
Ash from the wood biomass plant is not toxic, just as ash from the
wood stoves in thousands of northern Michigan homes is not toxic. A 10
mw gasification plant produces two truckloads of ash a week. This ash
can be disposed in a certified land fill or as regulations permit,
used in manufacturing processes or spread on fields for fertilizer.
Two commissioned studies and state forestry officials say there is
plenty of fuel for a wood biomass plant. If we move forward, TCL&P
will devote significant resources to sustainable forestry practices.
Our environment, economy, quality of life, and the price you pay for
electricity deserve pragmatic consideration and careful evaluation.
We’ve done our due diligence and are convinced that the path to
renewable energy is one this region should take.

Ed Rice, a veteran utility industry executive, is executive director
of Traverse City Light & Power.

 
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