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Utility shuns biomass for natural gas

Based in Michigan, US, energy provider Traverse City Light and Power has halted plans that would have seen the development of a 10MW biomass plant.

The wood burning facility would have contributed towards the company’s 2020 target of 30% of electricity to come from renewable sources.

According to Mike Coco, chairman of Traverse City, ‘Our ratepayers tell us they don’t know enough about biomass and some have suggested they are more comfortable with natural gas as a power generation resource, even though natural gas is not a renewable energy.’

However, following a survey conducted by the firm and published in April this year, 53.3% of local residents and businesses were in favour of the project.

Despite the decision the company’s executive director Ed Rice explained that the renewable portfolio standard, which requires 10% of power generated by utilities to be sourced from renewables by the year 2015, would be met with ease.

Rice said a deal that will see Traverse City acquire power from local wind farm Heritage Stoney Corners and a further 2MW from landfill gas plants, still to be constructed, will help the utility reach the 2015 goal.