Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

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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