Jan 15, 2010

New State Commisioner Biomass Initiatives

Commissioner Goldmark announces pilot projects in Biomass Initiative

Four firms selected to turn woody biomass into clean energy and jobs

OLYMPIA – Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark announced the first four companies selected to partner with the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in renewable energy projects using biomass from state forestlands.

“These four partners will put their technologies to work using forest products they purchase from state trust lands to produce clean, sustainable energy and rural jobs,” said Goldmark. “These projects have a huge potential to help encourage rural economic development and improve the health of fire-prone forests. This will hopefully be the beginning of a new green industry on state lands.”

The pilot projects will use woody biomass­—the residual waste (slash)—that the companies purchase in part from state trust lands managed by DNR. The biomass can come from timber harvests or be removed during forest health treatments such as thinning over-crowded and fire-prone tree stands.

The pilot projects and their locations are:

Parametrix will launch a pilot to convert woody biomass into liquid fuels at SDS Lumber in Bingen (Klickitat County) using fast pyrolysis technology.

Borgford BioEnergy, LLC in Valley and Springdale (Stevens County) will utilize wood waste to generate electricity, bio-oil, syngas, and bio-char.

Atlas Products in Omak (Okanogan County) will use forest biomass to produce wood pellets for heating.

Nippon Paper Industries USA, Ltd. in Port Angeles (Clallam County) will utilize wood waste for the cogeneration of heat and electricity at its paper mill, as well as selling excess energy.

Commenting today on the projects were representatives from the four companies:

“The partnership with DNR helps show that this is a very viable operation that will help us as we seek funding from private investors,” said Ken Fellows of Parametrix. “This partnership will help us advance to the next level by highlighting the credibility of our team and our project.”

“Jobs have to be sustainable and we have to use good stewardship in the forestland. We’re really excited about being a partner with DNR because this project does both,” said Dale Borford, Borford BioEnergy, LLC.

“This project is not only creating new jobs, but actually saving the jobs and infrastructure that already exist. It represents the very best of what can happen with forest restoration and bio-mass energy production,” said Eric Hanson of Atlas Products.

“The relationship with DNR will help us secure volume, quality of supply of biomass to our plant in Port Angeles and help preserve the 220 jobs there now,” said Harold Norlund, Nippon Paper Industries USA.

New Biomass Legislation

Today’s announcement came in the same week that House and Senate committees in the Washington Legislature were conducting hearings on the Forest Biomass Supply Agreements Bill requested by Goldmark.

“The selection of these projects is an important step in moving forward with a new, green energy industry, and I’m thrilled that Port Angeles’ own Nippon was chosen to participate,” said state Rep. Kevin Van De Wege, D–Sequim. “One way to create stable, family-wage jobs in this emerging industry is to allow the state to enter into long-term biomass supply contracts with businesses. A bill I’m sponsoring in the House would do this, paving the way for energy-related timber jobs in our rural communities.”

The bill (SB 6236 / HB 2481) would allow DNR to enter into long-term biomass supply agreements with the emerging biomass energy economy. The ability to secure reliable and predictably priced biomass feedstock supply is central to triggering private investment in the emerging biomass energy economy.

Neither the requested legislation nor the projects announced today would have any cost to the State’s General Fund, and they may lead to new markets and revenue for forest products.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources

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