North Fork Biomass Utilization

As this is one of the first community-scale forest bioenergy projects in the Sierra Nevada region, the project proponents consider it to be a demonstration project and are working to pave the way for future forest bioenergy facilities. This includes the application for a CA Energy Commission grant to research best practices of fuel management for forest bioenergy, working with the Northern California Community Loan fund to explore the application of New Market Tax Credits, Rural Energy for America Loan Guarantees, and other financial assistance programs.

The goal of the project is to successfully develop an economically viable 1 MW bioenergy facility on the North Fork Mill Site which utilizes woody biomass feedstock from the nearby Sierra National Forest and from other community sources, thus promoting healthy forests and wildfire risk reduction. The Community Development Council (CDC) has set forth the following objectives for the project:

  • Create jobs for local residents.
  • Create an income stream for the CDC to further promote Mill Site redevelopment.
  • Support local subsidiary businesses such as biomass harvesting, chipping and transport.
  • Beneficially utilize woody biomass being removed from surrounding public and private land for purposes of fire safety and/or ecological restoration.
  • Have minimal noise and odor impacts to nearby residents and businesses.
  • Provide opportunities for additional businesses that can utilize potential heat from the power plant, such as kiln dried wood products, greenhouses, etc.
  • Generate renewable energy consistent with the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. Project Acheivements to Date: Completed:
  • Feasibility study •Funding obtained for pre-development analysis and permitting Underway:
  • Permits and CEQA (June 2013)
  • Interconnection study (August 2013) Anticipated
  • Power Purchase Agreement (September – December 2013)
  • Financing (March 2013 – March 2014)
  • Construction (May 2014 – December 2014)
  • Commissioning (November 2014 – December 2014)

The SNC has provided one grant ($70,049, plus requested augmentation of $6,445.) The grant covers costs for preparing permit applications for the required Conditional Use Permit and associated CEQA, as well as other associated permits and reviews (Air District permits, Fish and Game review, etc.) The grant period is October 2012 through June 2013. (ADD this to other project info content pages???) In addition to the SNC grant, the following grant funds have been utilized on this project: •USDA RBEG funds – $27,000 (completed) •USFS Woody Biomass Utilization Grant: $134,225 (underway). An application for a CA Energy Commission grant in the amount of $510,324 was submitted in December 2012 and is pending. In-kind contributions are being provided by the North Fork CDC, the Yosemite-Sequoia RC&D, Phoenix Energy and Reliable Renewables (future developers), and TSS Consultants. It is anticipated that further in-kind resources will be provided by the Northern California Community Loan Fund.