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Placer County investigates potential for biomass facility

Placer County officials say they will consider building a biomass power generation facility near a material recovery facility in Cabin Creek in California.

The research will be funded by a Department of Energy (DoE) grant that was given to the region in 2008 and the development will not cost more than $200,000 (€146,200).

A proposal for development could be made by the middle of next year if all goes well, officials say.

The county is working with federal, state and local forestry and fire agencies to look at ways in which the fire risk and pollution in the area could be reduced.

Woody biomass left over from logging is currently left in open piles and then burnt, which creates air and water pollution. Using this matter as a feedstock for a biomass facility would solve the problem of disposing of the woody waste whilst creating electricity for the grid.

An environmental case study was carried out to look at two sites – Kings Beach and Cabin Creek – with the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency deciding that the noise impacts would affect Kings Beach, so Cabin Creek was chosen as a preferable site.

'Cabin Creek is a logical spot for a biomass facility with the added advantage of demonstrated community support for the site,' says supervisor Jennifer Montgomery who represents North Lake Tahoe.

The DoE will now get involved in the analysis process for further development research for the potential to build the facility.