California funds wood chip-to-boiler, fire reduction efforts

By Anna Simet | March 21, 2014

The Sierra Nevada Conservancy Governing Board has approved $1.2 million in grant awards for projects that reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and improve forest health, one of which will manufacture wood chip fuel for Plumas County public facility boilers.

The wood processing facility will consist of raw material receiving and storage, chipping, screening, conditioned fuel storage and loading for distribution. It will serve multiple institutional boiler systems, and will be designed to accommodate the future construction of an onsite 3-MW combined heat and power biomass facility.

 Project Applicant Sierra Institute for Community and Environment said the facility will reduce the use of fossil fuels at public institutions and lower the risk of catastrophic wildfire by integrating the use of woody biomass from thinning and hazard fuel reduction projects in the surrounding forests to heat existing public buildings and facilities.

Besides creating fuel and new jobs, the facility will facilitate forest stand improvement treatment of approximately 200 acres per year.

Site preparation and construction is slated for June, with chip processing to begin in April 2015.