Electricity — Small-scale power and cogeneration
New technologies are emerging to create energy from excess biomass that exists in our forests. From biofuels that may one day replace a portion of our dependence on fossil fuels to community-scale power systems and someday mobile systems will be used that will provide power directly to the grid minimizing costly transportation costs.
Sierra Forest Legacy supports “sustainable” utilization of excess biomass from responsible sources. This means materials that are obtained from planned fuel reduction projects from areas that have existing infrastructure to access the material without damaging the resource. Moving biomass from these projects rather than from burn piles that damage air quality and threaten human health is an important goal that we can achieve by using biomass in this way.
Large-scale biomass plants that require long haul distances and large supplies of biomass on an ongoing basis have proven to be problematic. Facilities should be scaled to the community so that we have many small systems close to the resource. Spreading out the facilities will distribute the impacts, risks and benefits over a broad area and will avoid the “boom and bust” cycles of resource use of the past.