Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

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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