Tag Archives: wood

Fracking at VSU

It’s good to see fracking reviewed in the VSU Spectator, including that it’s coming to Georgia unless we stop it, and we should stop it. It’s unfortunate the story ends with a bad idea when there’s a much better idea already rapidly being deployed: solar power.

Stephen Cavallaro wrote yesterday for the VSU Spectator, Fracking hits Georgia,

Fracking, the process of harvesting the environmentally unfriendly natural gas called shale that is being pushed by the government, plows its way through Georgia.

More like being pushed by fossil fuel companies who have bought too many politicians.

In March, I discussed a deal backed by the government between British-owned Centrica and American-owned Cheniere. The agreement was that Cheniere would spread toxic chemicals across America in order to fuel millions of British homes.

Kind of like Continue reading

Still no suppliers or buyers for Wiregrass Power LLC –VLCIA

According to an open records request of 17 February 2011, the Industrial Authority says Wiregrass Power LLC still
“has not yet identified or completed a comprehensive list of potential suppliers of raw materials, goods and services required to construct and operate the biomass electric generating plant.”
This is on a sheet entitled “Owners/Investors/Suppliers/Contracts”, which also says:
“Site preparation and construction is not scheduled to begin until June 1, 2011.”
Hm, what happened to breaking ground in January 2011? The document also said a “Project Critical Path time-line is attached” but it wasn’t.

Regarding buyers for the plant’s power: Continue reading

What’s the Industrial Authority’s Plan?

Appended is my LTE in the VDT today. I’ve added links. -jsq

What is the Industrial Authority’s plan to bring in real clean jobs?

MAGE SOLAR is hiring for the first of 350 jobs in its photovoltaic (PV) solar manufacturing plant in Dublin, Georgia, with half the population of Valdosta, in Laurens County, with half the population of Lowndes County. They’ve parlayed their position between the Atlanta airport and the Savannah seaport for many new clean jobs.

Suniva of Norcross’s second PV plant with its 500 jobs went to Michigan. Saginaw Valley calls itself Solar Valley and collaborates with governments, academia, and industry, winning thousands of clean jobs in wind and solar manufacturing and generating plants.

The Saginaw News remarked (7 Nov 2010): Continue reading

VLCIA biomass event Q&A

Here are videos that illustrate the VDT’s point today in What We Think:
While officials continue to downplay local citizen anger about current projects, citizens are organizing in a variety of ways to affect change the next election cycle. When Sterling Chemical came to Lowndes County in the 1990s, citizens were told the project was a “done deal,” and so it was. Sterling is still here, but those in office at the time aren’t, and the director of the Industrial Authority at the time is no longer here either.

As has been shown worldwide, citizens are tired of being told what’s best for them, having no say so in how their tax dollars are spent, and having their concerns ignored.

Until officials understand that it is coming from all directions and not just led by a few malcontents, the swell will continue to grow. And those who continue to ignore the anger and frustration do so at their own peril.

Maybe the VDT is referring to this kind of response from the VLCIA panel on 6 Dec 2010:
“these things do prop up the local economy, period, end of discussion.”
A previous questioner who had a job in Vietnam notes he was lied to about Agent Orange and asks “can you assure me that I won’t be affected by this?” Continue reading

Where’s the wood to come from and who will buy the electricity?

Here’s video of what I asked at the recent VLCIA biomass event (6 Dec 2010) and the answers from the panel.

So there’s actually not any new study of wood sourcing (Brad Lofton told me after the meeting that the study had been “completed” after we met in June), and the study that exists is not publicly available. Someone from Sterling promised me after the meeting to redact the private parts of the wood sourcing study and provide the rest for public distribution. We’ll see.

Regarding my question about who will buy the electricity and whether we’ll end up like Plant Scherer, selling electricity to Florida while keeping the pollution here, the answer was: Continue reading

WSJ on Economic Problems of Biomass Plants

Jim Carlton points out in the Wall Street Journal some of the problems of biomass plants.
With all the plants and trees in the world, biomass energy would appear to have boundless potential.
Or as Georgia politicians are fond of saying, “Georgia is the Saudi Arabia of forest energy.”
Yet in the U.S., biomass power—generated mainly by burning wood and other plant debris—has run into roadblocks that have stymied its growth.

Here at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, officials in 2007 built a $7.7 million biomass plant to meet all the power needs of the medium-security prison. But last month, two years after the plant opened, prison officials closed it, citing excessive costs.

“This was a project that was well intentioned, but not well implemented,” says Jeff Mohlenkamp, deputy director of support services for the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Even with a captive market (pun intended), biomass was not economically feasible.

Maybe it was an isolated case? Continue reading

Bergstrom, Noll, and Gunning biomass questions from June 2009

These are the questions Dr. Michael Noll submitted to the LCC at its 9 June 2009 meeting. I invite anyone else who submitted written comments to that meeting to send them here and I’ll be happy to post them.


TO: Lowndes Co. Commission
RE: Wiregrass LLC Biomass Electricity Plant
Date: June 9, 2009

Dear Lowndes County Commissioners.

As the county is currently considering the development of a biomass electricity plant, we wish to share some important concerns and questions with you, which we believe need to be addressed before any further action is taken.

First, the proposed biomass plant is being touted as a “Green Energy” project because it produces electricity from renewable materials. However, this wood waste and yard waste could have other uses—such as compost, landscaping mulch and forest soil amendments, which are much “greener” still and produce no pollution at all. The fact that these materials are labeled “waste” tells you something, and Reducing, Re-using, and Recycling waste should come higher on the list of green processing than incinerating it.

Continue reading

Center of Innovation – Energy

Where’s Waldo? And where’s the state renewable energy strategy for Georgia, or for the southeast, or for just south Georgia? Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority (VLCIA) Project Manager Allan Ricketts found another candidate.
“Forests Dominate Georgia’s Land Use”
That’s the title of slide 10 of 21 in Center of Innovation – Energy (CIE) by Jill Stuckey, Director. Actually, massively pesticided planted pines dominate south Georgia’s land use; not the same as actual forests with species diversity and diverse ages of trees. The same CIE slide equates
Georgia Forestry = Biomass Energy
That is what the state government seems to want it to be.

Back on slide 9, solar is defined as a southwestern regional energy source; nevermind that the solar map on that page shows Georgia with the same insolation as most of Texas (more on that later). And wind is defined as a central U.S. regional strength, nevermind that even Georgia Power has started exploring the possibility of wind off the Georgia coast.

I get it that Georgia has trees and forestry is a big industry in Georgia. I’m a tree farmer myself. I’d love to be convinced that biomass from trees is one good way to go. But at what costs? And compared to what? Continue reading

Effects of proposed biomass plants in Massachusetts

Very interesting projection of Massachusetts Forest Impacts if Proposed Biomass Incinerators Are Allowed by Chris Matera, P.E., and Ellen Moyer, Ph.D, P.E., with GIS analysis and programming by Gordon Green:

The animations add the demand for wood for 5 proposed biomass incinerators in Massachusetts to the current wood demand, which is mainly for lumber and cord wood. The animations demonstrate the land area in western and central Massachusetts that would be required to be logged to satisfy the total demand for these 5 plants which would add only about 1 percent to Massachusetts’ electrical generating capacity (see calculations below).

Quite a price for such a small percentage of electricity generation. Solar, wind, and wave could generate far more electricity, even in far northern Massachusetts.

And the animation above is a conservative projection. Follow the link for

…the extreme case where all forested land in central and western Massachusetts would be made available for biomass cutting – including rare species habitat, scenic landscapes, public “protected” land, and other protected open space. In this case, all forested land in central and western Massachusetts would be logged in only 16 years.

In Georgia, that would include places like Reed Bingham State Park.


Biomass Permit Expected Fortnightly

The VDT published on May 18 Projects in the works: Industrial Authority reviews and discuss items at meeting, by Kara Ramos, in which there is this paragraph:

The project should be approved and issued an air quality operating permit in the next 14 days, according to Lofton. A power purchase agreement should also be complete by June 1, 2010. The VLCIA granted an eight month extension for the project to begin construction.

(VLCIA is the Valdosta-Lowndes County Industrial Authority. Brad Lofton is its executive director.)

We know from previous reports that this wood and sewage sludge incinerator is expected to produce a maximum of 25 long-term jobs. Many questions were asked at the air quality hearing about particulates, CO2, mercury, and other pollutants. The answers ranged from “we don’t monitor that” to Continue reading