Springs Utilities Biomass Pilot

For a number of years, Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) has been analyzing the introduction of biomass as an alternate fuel.  The most recent Electric Integrated Resource Plan (EIRP) contains a summary of the state of that analysis as of 2011.  See page 24 (PDF page 35) of the EIRP for details.  Note that this is considered as a renewable resource in the EIRP and by a number of experts.  The argument is,without burning, the biomass would re-enter the carbon cycle anyway through natural decomposition in a matter of 10-100 years.  Compared to the age of fossil fuels this is more or less at the same time.  Of course, the burning must be done in such a way that other pollutants are not generated in substantial volume.

As reported in the Gazette on 12/23/2013, CSU has launched a pilot program to co-fire woody biomass with coal in the Martin Drake power plant located in central Colorado Springs.  Former SECRES board member, Terry Meikle. is the production manager for the pilot.  Terry appears in a video at the Gazette link, above, describing the benefits of this approach.  The article goes on to identify Ft. Carson as the CSU customer willing to pay the premium to fund the pilot in order to get a step closer to their goal of being net-zero by 2020.  It appears that the source of the biomass, unlike thinning beetle kill from forests as noted in the EIRP, will be scrape material that otherwise would have gone into other recycling streams.

Fox News carried this story http://www.fox21news.com/news/story.aspx?id=1031388

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