Thursday, April 30, 2009

Local and Regional Bio-Energy in Wisconsin

If the payoff and decision-making process stay in the community, locals may rally more support toward community renewable energy products, they said. “It’s not just about natural resources and infrastructure,” Turnquist said. “It’s also about people and communities.”

Opportunities also exist for small-scale projects to partner with larger-scale operations, according to the authors. They cite as an example Xcel Energy’s 2008 proposal to add a biomass-to-energy burner to their existing plant in Ashland, which already uses woody biomass. _Bioenergy
One of the main themes of "Al Fin Energy" blog is the need to build local and regional infrastructures for the full range of bioenergy resources that are available. Each locale has its own climate and soil conditions, and its own distinct local economy. National and international media focus on the global and national scale -- at the expense of the local and regional. Young people can easily grow to adulthood without becoming aware of the unique opportunities existing under their noses.

Wisconsin is one part of North America with an abundance of bioenergy resources.
Wisconsin has almost 15 million tons of potential biomass, the paper states, and if smaller local operations use that feedstock, it could increase energy production opportunities and increase returns for rural communities. It’s not just the scale of biomass potential that makes distributed energy a powerful tool in Wisconsin, but also its diversity, Turnquist said. “The single biggest benefit is that we have the capacity to do it right now,” he said.

Small-scale operations are starting to pop up around the state, according to Radloff, mostly at rural schools. Starting small and building out might be a way to build the biomass-to-energy infrastructure in the state, he added. Some larger projects also are in the works such as Governor Jim Doyle’s order for four university campuses in the state to “come off the grid” and switch to biomass, Radloff said. _Bioenergy



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