First ever national bioenergy day

Letters to the Editor - 10/17/13 edition

October 15, 2013 

Dear Editor,

Today (Oct. 17,) is the first-ever National Bioenergy Day. This day, celebrating nature's energy source, will celebrate bioenergy and its many environmental and economic benefits on the local, state and national levels by hosting a series of events across the nation. Biomass, forestry, and pellet companies are joining trade associations, schools and universities in 13 states and Canada to host 24 events to raise awareness about the benefits of bioenergy.

This is relevant in that a biomass feasibility study was conducted at the North Fork mill in 2011 outlining that a one mega-watt community scale biomass facility, combined heat and power, would sustain itself on small woody debris within a 30 mile radius. This potential project, being managed through a local non-profit organization, the Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council, has the potential to create local jobs while conducting much needed fuel reduction and restoration work on our public lands.

The council has played a key role in developing a transparent and collaborative process by bringing biomass experts and the local community together to design a project that would ultimately bring the most beneficial impact to the local area.

Bioenergy, according to the Biomass Power Association, refers to an industry whose companies produce electricity and heat generated from wood and other organic materials. These materials, which may otherwise be burned, produces a significant amount of the nation's renewable energy — 22% in 2011 — according to the Energy Information Administration, more than wind and solar combined and only second to hydroelectric energy.

While local jobs and fuel reductions are a beneficial motivation in the North Fork Community-Scale Biomass Project, the council is dedicated to a balanced approach that recognizes both human and non-human forest users with biodiversity and healthy local living economies in mind.

Brittany Dyer,
Yosemite / Sequoia
RC&D Council

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