Niebling, Dominion, win biomass industry awards at IBCE

By Chris Hanson | April 09, 2013

Charlie Niebling, general manager of New England Wood Pellet, received the 2013 Excellence in Bioenergy Award at the International Biomass Conference and Expo in Minneapolis, April 8-10.

Tim Portz, executive editor for Biomass Magazine, explained the award “gives the opportunity to recognize someone who has gone above and beyond the call of normal business duty to promote biomass derived energy.”

Niebling was recognized for his accomplishments in promoting the biomass power industry in the Northeast U.S., as well as his leadership roles as government affairs co-chair of the Pellet Fuels Institute, first president of the New York Biomass Energy Alliance, founder of Northeast Biomass Working Group, founder of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council and more.

“It is certainly an honor to be recognized by one’s peers,” said Niebling, upon accepting the award. “I’m proud to have played a small and modest role in gaining great recognition for the contribution for biomass heat and combined heat and power can make toward meeting our nation’s energy, economic, environmental and climate challenges.”

Niebling said that he is thankful for the cooperative efforts from other companies and organizations, and feels that his efforts were made possible by companies engaged in advocacy. Industry advocacy should be at the top of the list to secure its future, he added.

Dominion Virginia Power was awarded the Ground Breaker of the Year Award for its biomass energy projects. “The struggle that getting a project funded to point where a shovel goes into the ground is an endeavor that is not to be taken lightly,” Portz said. He added the purpose of this particular award is to celebrate accomplishments in the production of biomass energy.

Dominion was recognized for breaking ground on three facilities that are converting from coal to woody biomass. The company’s combined projects in Altavista, Southampton, and Hopewell, Va., are projected to generate over 150 MW of biomass-derived electricity by the end of 2013.

Accepting the award on behalf of Dominion was Ruth Prideaux, director of fossil and hydro projects at Dominion. “As a result of these conversions, these stations will change from peaker stations that ran very little, to base load plants running at very high capacity factors,” she said, concluding that Dominion is very appreciative of the award.