Current Grants being Implemented by Placer County and its Partners
Department Of Energy (DOE): Placer County Biomass Utilization Pilot Project
Phase I: (DOE Placer County Phase 1 Scope of Work)
Work begun 2008: $492,000 Congressionally Directed Grant – Congressman John Doolittle; The County of Placer, California plans to utilize the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) award No. DE-FG36-08GO88026 to facilitate a comprehensive project that integrates all facets of feasibility for the successful deployment of a woody biomass to energy project located within eastern Placer County. Such a facility is critical to serving the hazardous forest fuels reduction programs in this region in future years. In order to accomplish this, a series of analytical and investigatory studies are to be undertaken that will provide either a public agency or private entity with due diligence grade information to assess the feasibility to develop, construct and operate a small (1 to 3 mega watts) biomass facility.
Task 1.0: Air/Water Emissions and Carbon Credits/Emissions Offsets Report
Task 3.0: Logistics Study of a Biomass Facility
Task 6.0: New Source Review Permit Analysis Report, June 2012
Task 7.0: Fuel Assessment and Procurement Plan
Placer County Technical Paper Published For Emission Reductions Of Biomass Program
Phase II: (DOE Phase 2 Project Objectives)
Whereas the various tasks in Phase I have specific planned completion dates, the importance of Phase II studies will drive the need for beginning the environmental and land use feasibility studies of Phase II before all Phase I tasks are completed. The studies during this phase, begun in 2010, are to utilize the $1,427,250 amendment of Congressionally-directed DOE funding. Placer County will also be concurrently moving forward (during both Phases of this project) with environmental studies pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act, the National Environmental Protection Act, New Source Review Permitting from the Placer County Air Pollution Control District and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency (TRPA), and land use studies to allow eventual authorization from the TRPA and Placer County, which all govern the proposed site, facility, emissions, and eventual operations.
Notice of Preparation
Draft Environmental Impact Report
Final Environmental Impact Report
The independent report, "Public Health Risks Associated with Operation of a Biomass Power Plant" looked at cancer risks from exposure to any carcinogens that may be released, chronic non-cancer health risks and acute non-cancer health risks for a proposed facility at two potential site locations: Cabin Creek and Kings Beach. The results of this report clearly shows that operation of the proposed power plant would not result in a significant public health risk at either possible location. The Kings Beach site has been removed from consideration as a possible location by Placer County and the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
United States Forest Service
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit: Biomass Removal Projects
The purpose of this agreement is to collaboratively work together to address the hazardous fuels conditions and community fire protection for the communities within Placer and northern El Dorado Counties by completing biomass removal and fuels reduction projects on National Forest System lands and adjacent private, state, or local government lands. The treatment will take place on approximately 100 acres of National Forest System (NFS) lands and/or 100 acres of state land and/or 100 acres of private land. These projects will allow the USFS and Placer County to create a cohesive fire defensible landscape by maintaining fuels treatments on National Forest System lands over time in conjunction with fuels reduction and defensible space treatments occurring on adjoining private lands.
Overview Collaborative Tahoe Basin Biomass Report (PDF, 4mb)
Forest Products Lab: Engineering Design of a Biomass Power Generation Facility
Placer County won a $150,000 grant to support the Lake Tahoe Regional Biomass to Energy Facility Technology Integration and Facility Design. This work will allow the proposed Cabin Creek project to be designed to meet Placer County approval design and regulation standards. The results will allow for this proposed facility to be moved to the permit stage.
USFS - 2011 Woody Biomass Utilization Grant Narrative and Schedule
Placer County Woody Biomass Grant Report January 2012
Placer County Woody Biomass Grant Report April 2012
Placer County Woody Biomass Grant Report July 2012
Placer County Woody Biomass Grant Report October 2012
Sierra Nevada Conservancy (SNC): Strategic Opportunity Grant – Biomass Removal on National Forest Lands
(Phase 1 Report December 2008)
This project is proposed and sponsored by the Placer County, in a partnership, with the following organizations; USDA Forest Service (USFS), Placer County Air Pollution Control District (PCAPCD), and Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). Placer County will serve as the lead partner in the implementation of this project. The primary objective of the Forest Biomass Removal from National Forest Lands Project is the removal of multiple tons of woody biomass material from National Forests within the Sierra Nevada Conservancy’s (SNC) service area. Placer County proposes that the woody biomass material will be removed as a byproduct of fuels treatment activities and that this byproduct be recovered as fuel for clean, renewable energy rather than its current fate which is typically pile and burn or leave on site. The project will facilitate the removal of these tons of woody biomass from four National Forests (NF) located within the Sierra Nevada range; Tahoe National Forest, El Dorado National Forest, Plumas National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU).
Placer County Air Pollution Control District (PCAPCD)
2010 CLEAN AIR GRANTS:
USFS Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit Biomass Conversion Program
During 2009 we began to perform biomass removal of existing piles in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit (LTBMU) areas of Placer County. These programs have been hugely successful and as a result the County has been working with the LTBMU to allow more material to be captured from their lands in eastern Placer County for conversion to energy. This year we will be expanding the program to projects that are removing existing biomass piles as well as forest thinning projects to capture the biomass before they pile it and leave it. This new project should assist in lowering the overall costs of biomass removal and exclude many more days of future burning within this region. The LTBMU has realized the value of the safety aspect and the value of the health aspect of lowered pollution levels due to the material not being burned as well as the reduced fire danger of a catastrophic fire. The results have been overwhelming that this type of program is what Placer County residents and the USFS want.
State Agency Tahoe Basin Biomass Conversion Program
In 2009 we started a pilot program with the California State Parks to remove their biomass which was successful. With this grant we will now expand the program to all state lands with the California Tahoe Conservancy and California State Parks (within Placer County) to allow our sister agencies from our state to participate in the benefits of this program by capturing all accessible biomass material and converting it into green energy. We are committed to work together to reduce burning and pollutants within this region.
Tahoe Regional Community Biomass Conversion Program
This is the continuation grant funding of a valuable program for citizens in eastern Placer County. We work with our many Fire Agencies, Fire Safe Councils and homeowner associations to organize and promote the collection of all woody materials cleared from the urban forest by providing drop areas in various locations within all communities that have a need. This grant program supports both the drop off of “biomass boxes” to community locations as well as regional drop off locations for larger amounts where we then grind the material and haul it to the nearest energy facility. With the continued development of this program, Placer County will annually collect the urban forest residue and utilize it in our existing and potential biomass facilities. The intent of this continued program (besides reducing emissions) is twofold; 1) assist the community with the clean disposal of woody biomass using one joint process, and 2) set in place a reliable source of woody biomass for our proposed biomass facility which could be operational by 2012/13.
2009 CLEAN AIR GRANTS:
American River Biomass Conversion Program
Placer County, in a partnership with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District has implemented programs to provide fire prevention assistance and reduce air pollution. While working with the USFS in our region we have forged a partnership to process, remove, chip and haul the accessible materials to nearby biomass energy facilities. The Tahoe National Forest (TNF) has begun a 5-year plan to fully thin the American River Ranger by a variety of projects, many of which are in Placer County. The TNF will be the leader in these activities. It is critical that we have this partnership to ensure that as much material as possible can be transported rather than open burned in the County.
Regional Biomass Conversion Program
Our new program starts by providing residents of all of our urban forested areas throughout the County with information, training and assistance of clearing away defensible space around their homes and businesses. This is critical for the protection of our citizens, wildlife and forest health. We will work with our Resource Conservation Districts, Fire Safe Councils and our local Fire Departments and Districts and businesses to develop these materials and messages. The intent is to work directly with the public and private business to allow materials to flow into regional areas rather than ending up burned in the open. To that end we will use our funding to work with a regional biomass that takes material and grinds it into chips then transports that material to the nearest energy facility. We will have several landings throughout the County to have woody biomass stored until a portable tub grinder can come to chip the material and haul it by truck to the biomass plants.
National Forest Biomass Removal Program
Placer County, in a partnership with the Placer County Air Pollution Control District has implemented programs to provide fire prevention assistance and reduce air pollution. While working with the USFS in our region we have found that a large amount of accessible woody biomass materials are piled and burned at the end of any forest thinning operation due to the cost of transport. In discussions with the USFS Placer County believes that we can pool our resources and provide a process to remove, chip and haul the accessible materials to nearby biomass energy facilities.
United States Forest Service
Coordinated Resource Offering Protocol (CROP) Analysis: (Final Report)
A grant for undertaking a Coordinated Resource Offering Protocol (CROP) analysis encompassing Placer County and adjacent counties within a 100-mile radial landscape was performed by Mater Engineering. The focus of the acquisition of projected resource offering data was on public land and readily available private forestland data. Baseline recommendations for the project were focused on 5-year averaged supply projections. Biomass data was collected from three distinct venues: projected timber sales; projected service contracts (procurement, restoration, stewardship contracts); and projected fuel load reduction volumes based on National Fire Plan mandates. Resource Offering Maps (ROMS) were created for each species projected for offering during the next five years in the CROP landscape. The ROMS will provide the most up to date information on what’s to be offered in the region for the next five years. Additionally, risk associated with phase of NEPA process projected resource offerings was conducted.
USFS/High Sierra Resource Conservation and Development Council: Biomass Conversion Technologies Technical Assistance Project - Assessment of Small-Scale Biomass Combined Heat and Power Technologies for Deployment in eastern Placer County (Placer County Combined Heat and Electrical Power [CHP] Report)
A study to evaluate existing technologies that produce electrical energy and heat from biomass materials with air emissions low enough to be able to be permitted and other attributes that will allow the technology to be utilized in eastern Placer County was performed. The study assessed the possibility of combined heat and electrical power (CHP) generating technology, utilizing locally available fuels (i.e. woody biomass fuels easily accessible and obtainable with no new access road construction in the forest) that would otherwise be wasted resources. Biomass technologies, both direct combustion and gasification systems were evaluated, with the goal of being environmentally compatible and allowable in eastern Placer County. Results were very positive and further analysis is on-going.
Placer County Air Pollution Control District (PCAPCD) Community Biomass Removal Programs
2008: Clean Air Grant - Fire Prevention Assistance Program: (Final Report)
Placer County has implemented a program with the grant assistance of the Placer County Air Pollution Control District to provide fire prevention assistance. This will complement other annual County fire prevention programs such as defensible space inspections, shaded fuel break maintenance and others. We are currently placing biomass boxes into our communities that require/desire defensible space treatments. The program took off significantly after the Angora Fire in Lake Tahoe. We have been working with the North Tahoe Fire District to roll out this program across the Tahoe area. Our expectation is that this year will prove to have large increases in the west side of the County due to our advertisement of the program to agriculture growers associations to limit the amount of burning in the foothills and valley.
2007: Clean Air Grant - Biomass Box Program: (Final Report)
Placer County implemented a “Biomass Box” program beginning in the spring of 2007 with partial funding from the Placer County Air Pollution Control District. The program objective was and remains twofold: First, it encourages County residents to clear defensible space around their homes to improve fire safety and survivability. Secondly, it provides a means for collection and utilization of the resultant brush, tree limbs, natural debris, etc. for use as fuel for producing energy. Use of forest detritus in this manner is in marked contrast to the current practice of open burning on site.
During this project 3,361 green tons of material was collected and converted to 2052.6 MW of electrical energy (enough to power 228 homes for one year). Because this material was burned in a controlled facility instead of open burning the net air pollution reduction was 88.6 % or over 300 tons of pollutants.