Sunday, February 07, 2010

Biomass Power Changes Local Economies

An alliance between John Deere, and Areva + Duke Energy joint venture "Adage", is building a $250 million, 55 MW biomass power plant in Mason County, Washington. The plant will supply plentiful power to local communities, and will provide much needed employment to local foresters -- it will use woody biomass from local private forests.
In its first 2½ years of construction and operation, the plant will generate $100 million in economic activity and create 700 direct and indirect jobs across the county, according to Adage. Once permanently operational, it will create a new economic incentive for revitalizing Washington’s rural communities that will also help maintain forest health, according to Adage.

The Mason County region is heavily wooded and makes it a great location for such a plant, Adams said. It will be the third Adage endeavor, but the first in the Pacific Northwest. Construction on Hamilton Biopower, in Hamilton County, Fla., will begin this year, and Gadsden Biopower, Gadsden County, Fla., is in the early stages of project planning, as it was just announced in December, according to the company. _BiomassMag
As we keep telling you, one of the largest appeals of biomass energy is the local and regional revitalising effect -- as opposed to the enervating effect of importing fuels and power from the outside, losing jobs in the process.

In third world countries such as in Southeast Asia, biomass offers the promise of a jump-start out of a powerless primitive existence into a more modern world of electric power and modern communications. The ability to build a biomass plant in the middle of a jungle -- many dozens of miles from the nearest power grid -- and energise several local villages that have never seen what electricity can do for them, is one big plus of bioenergy.

The important thing about third world energy investments is to keep the technology appropriate for the local region. Make sure locals can be trained to operate and maintain the power plant, and to provide the necessary feedstock and materials for ongoing operations.

The lower the average IQ of the local populations, the smaller the scale and the simpler the technology must be. If you ignore that common sense rule, you are hurting the people in order to congratulate yourself for your misplaced egalitarianism.

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