Letters

Letters 07-21-2014

Disheartened

While observing Fox News, it was disheartening to see what their viewers were subjected to. It seems the Republicans’ far right wing extremists are conveying their idealistic visions against various nationalities, social diversities or political beliefs with an absence of emotion concerning women’s health issues, children’s rights, voter suppression, Seniors, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid...

Things That Matter

All of us in small towns and large not only have the right to speak on behalf of our neighbors and ourselves, we have the duty and responsibility to do so -- and 238 years ago, we made a clear Declaration to do just that...

An Anecdote Driven Mind

So, is Thomas Kachadurian now the Northern Express’ official resident ranter? His recent factfree, hard-hearted column suggests it. While others complain about the poor condition of Michigan’s roads and highways, he rants against those we employ to fix them...

No On Prop 1

Are we being conned? Are those urging us to say “yes” to supposedly ”revenue neutral” ballot proposal 1 on August 5 telling us all the pertinent facts? Proposal 1 would eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay to local governments, replacing its revenue with a share of Michigan’s 6 percent use tax paid by us all on out-of-state purchases, hotel accommodations, some equipment rentals, and telecommunications...

Fix VA Tragedy

The problems within the Veterans Administration identified under former President Bush continue to hinder the delivery of quality health care to the influx of physically wounded and emotionally damaged young men and women...

Women Take Note

I find an interesting link between the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby and the crisis on the southern border. Angry protesters shout at children to go home. These children are scared, tired, hungry and thirsty, sent to US prisons awaiting deportation to a country where they may very likely be killed...


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

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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