Fall 2011 U.S. Biomass Power Map in Production

By Rona Johnson | September 20, 2011

The biomass power and thermal industries have their work cut out for them trying to divert the federal government’s attention away from biomass-based transportation fuels.

On the heels of a $510 million investment announcement on Aug. 16 by the U.S. DOE for the development of drop-in biofuels for military and commercial transportation over the next three years, the DOE announced another award on Aug. 31 of $12 million that is designed to support three biofuel and biochemical conversion facilities.

The biofuels industry also got a boost from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program in its latest announcements, which included project areas for Beaver Biodiesel LLC, AltAir Fuels LLC, ZeaChem and Abengoa Biofuels.  

I don’t begrudge the biofuels industry, and I understand how important it is for the U.S. to move away from using imported crude oil for our transportation purposes, but I’m starting to get a little frustrated.

Fortunately developers and investors aren’t waiting for the government to open up its pocketbook. I have had quite a few inquiries lately from people wanting more information about biomass power and thermal projects. Most of them say they are first-time investors in biomass projects, and they have questions about everything from the feedstock situation to how the biobased power makes its way to the grid.

We at Biomass Power & Thermal will learn more about the biomass power project development situation as we start making phone calls for the Fall 2011 U.S. Biomass Power Map, which have just begun. The spring 2011 map listed 49 proposed plants, whereas we had 41 plants listed on the fall 2010 list. That may not seem like a huge leap, but keep in mind that a couple of the proposed plants dropped off the fall list and some were transferred to the under construction category. Also, we only list those plants that we can confirm either by phone or email so it is by no means a comprehensive list.

The map includes only plants that use solid biomass fuel and that supply all or a portion of their power to the grid. All plants must have at least 1 megawatt of installed capacity.

I encourage anyone who wants their plant to be included on the list to give me a call at (701) 738-4940 or send me an email at rjohnson@bbiinternational.com.