Highlights from BPA, Calif. Biomass Energy Alliance Joint Conference

By Bob Cleaves | April 03, 2012

Biomass Power Association and California Biomass Energy Alliance held their joint annual conference in February in Las Vegas.  This gathering of members of the biomass community each year from across the country is a venue for discussing solutions to the challenges facing the industry on both the national and local levels.

The conference kicked off with a heartfelt thank you to Mike Whiting, a decades-long member of the biomass community, who is retiring from the woods to devote more time to his family’s foundation. The BPA recognized his dedication to biomass with a wood-chip plaque.

 Some of the highlights from the two days of meetings included presentations from experts. Steve Brink with the California Forestry Association outlined the USDA’s forest restoration project and its positive effects on the biomass industry. Similar to the USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program, projects like this—removing dead, flammable debris from forests and using it for clean, biomass power—are increasingly recognized as mutually beneficial to industry, government and citizens.

Tom Christofk, an air pollution control officer with California’s Placer County Air Pollution Control District, expanded on Brink’s mutual benefits message. Christofk related the story of Placer County’s search for common sense ways to dispose of the large amounts of debris cleared out of forests to prevent wildfires. Not only did biomass provide a way to put these materials to use, diverting them from landfills, but Placer County also discovered that using them for biomass power resulted in dramatically fewer emissions than open burning. Placer County’s work in this area did not go unnoticed. The EPA awarded the county a Clean Air Excellence Award for the initiative in 2010.

 Attendees also received comprehensive policy updates on EPA’s Tailoring Rule, Boiler MACT and related rules, as well as the legislative outlook for the year.

Author: Bob Cleaves
President and CEO, Biomass Power Association