California could see the launch of a new biomass plant as the final phase of construction is set to begin shortly.
A new two mega-watt biomass boiler heating plant in North Fork has been in the pipeline for almost a decade, but it could finally be operational by the end of 2020, it has been revealed.
Greg Stangl of Phoenix Energy, which is one of the developers, spoke with Sierra News Online recently. He said: “At this point, we feel pretty confident the escrow is going to close in the next month or so.”
North Fork Community Power is the official name of the joint venture between Phoenix Energy and North Fork Community Development Council (CDC), which is also helping to pioneer the project. The organisation has already invested $4 million (£3.26 million) into the biomass plant; however, it has to sell $15 million in tax-exempt bonds to be able to raise money for the remaining construction work.
Mr Stangl stated: “This has been the deal that has died 10,000 times. But North Fork is one resilient town. They’ve continued to keep their chin up about this project.”
He went on to say North Fork Community Power’s goal is now to open by the end of next year and be “making electricity within 14 months of the [financing] deal’s closing”.
The 5,000-square foot biomass plant will ‘bake’ dead trees, rather than ‘burn’ them. This will reduce the amount of air pollution produced and also create a by-product called bio-char that can be sold as soil additive to local farmers.
Another useful component in biomass treatment is cheese, with the World Economic Forum reporting that Wensleydale Creamery provides whey to a local biogas plant to generate 10,000 MWh of thermal power, which is enough to heat 800 houses a year.