Butte County could be in a place to be a leader in biomass and co-generation for California.
Considering the role that biomass and co-generation has in a state where wildfires consumed more than 4 million acres so far this year, advocates says co-generation is the most environmentally friendly option that faces this charred state.
The are so many factors that align in Butte County that it’s almost ironic. Some of the most unfortunate blows that Butte County has experienced could be its most promising factors moving forward.
From burned timber from the Camp Fire and now the North Complex, and undergrowth loaded forests, there is feedstock for biomass incinerators.
Biomass is the woody material of which forests are made, but it also includes agricultural waste like prunings, and urban waste like green waste, pallets or waste construction wood.
There is also the future need to deal with fuel-overloaded forests that won’t be going away. One biomass advocate called the forests “a book of matches waiting to be lit” as to the fire danger. The goal of the Shared Stewardship agreement between California and the U.S. Forest Service is to target “treating” one million acres of forests per year for 10 years, which includes thinning.
Butte County is a place with plenty of rural areas covered in trees, smack next to dense residential areas. And there is the need for jobs.
Not to be forgotten is the existence of a nonworking but present cogeneration plant in Oroville.