A delivery truck unloading wood chips
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Wooden Waste Helps Preserve the Lights on in Rural Communities | Sustainable information

, 2019

Delivery vehicles unload wood chips to be transformed into bioenergy that will give energy to Susanville and adjacent communities. USDA Forest Company image by Amanda Oliver.

Perched at the edge of the Good Basin, the city of Susanville, California, has experienced superior winds, hefty snowfalls, and wildfires that disrupt power supplied on the regular grid. Thankfully, the city’s 20,000 people, as effectively as these in surrounding rural communities, aren’t remaining in the dim for prolonged.

Just 20 minutes absent in Wendell, California, the Honey Lake Power plant is active changing wooden squander into power to provide the lights back on. Honey Lake typically supplies its electric output to San Diego Fuel & Electric powered under a very long-phrase energy purchase settlement. In the celebration that Lassen County is disconnected from the greater California electrical grid, Honey Lake supports community grid trustworthiness by providing power to the Lassen Municipal Utility District, the community energy district, for the town of Susanville and adjacent communities.

A person working at a bioenergy plant
Bioenergy vegetation like Honey Lake Power, pictured right here, deliver careers for quite a few rural citizens. USDA Forest Services image by Amanda Oliver.

This 30-megawatt bioenergy electrical generation facility is one particular of seven bioenergy plants in California with special contracts licensed by the condition legislation to obtain 80% of their feedstock from forest biomass from higher hazard zones, this sort of as those people with trees killed by fires, wind occasions, bugs and ailment.

Biomass generally incorporates city tree trimmings, sawmill by-products, and forest-derived fuels like the tops of observed logs, wood chips and slash.

When it arrives to biomass, the Lassen National Forest has a good deal to offer you. Honey Lake Electric power burns involving 150,000 and 200,000 tons of woody biomass for every year, together with about 140,000 bone dry tons acquired from forest thinning and fuels reduction on 10,000 acres of general public and non-public lands. Of this, it is believed that the Lassen provides up to 20% – wood squander that would usually be burned on site, possibly in prepared pile burns or as gasoline for the subsequent wildfire. Considerably of this gas is labeled as ladder fuels that allow flames to achieve the tops of more substantial trees.

The Lassen Nationwide Forest has supplied more USDA Forest Provider feedstock to Honey Lake Energy in the final two a long time than any other forest in California.

“Bioenergy provides other substantial environmental and client gains, such as improving upon forest overall health, preserving air excellent and furnishing the most reliable renewable electricity source,” said Deb Bumpus, forest supervisor for the Lassen Nationwide Forest.

Wooden vitality facilities like Honey Lake Energy change undesired forest fuels into strength in an environmentally pleasant way. When bioenergy is burned underneath managed problems, filters take away 95% of the polluting emissions that would normally be unveiled into the atmosphere. Honey Lake Power also makes use of geothermal groundwater from local wells to preheat its boiler feed h2o, which further more lessens the plant’s usage of biomass.

The Forest Service expenditure is vital to enabling Honey Lake Energy to meet up with its forest biomass contractual goals.

“The Lassen Nationwide Forest has been particularly supportive in delivering gasoline to Honey Lake Energy Organization,” explained Plant Supervisor Benjamin Gates. “It is our target to deliver dependable back-up electric power to Susanville throughout emergencies.”

Deadwood left from the Eiler Fire of 2014
Much of the gas that powers bioenergy plants is unmarketable and/or a fire hazard, as with this standing deadwood still left from the Eiler Fire of 2014. USDA Forest Support courtesy photograph.

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