MARIPOSA — The Mariposa Biomass Project (MBP) has achieved several milestones toward its goal of building a 2 Megawatt biomass facility in the town of Mariposa.
On Jan. 12, the MBP closed escrow on two parcels in the Mariposa Industrial Park, marking the final requirement to qualify for Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC) funding.
The project is aimed at creating healthier forests, reducing the fire danger, and contributing to a diverse local economy.
“The main goal of the project is to turn woody biomass from our massive tree mortality into clean power,” says Melinda Barrett, Program Manager, Mariposa County Resource Conservation District.
The Mariposa Biomass Project has been exploring the idea of a woody biomass facility in Mariposa County that would use slash from forest thinning projects for the generation of bioenergy and commercial byproducts. The facility would produce a revenue stream that should help finance forest thinning projects, attract new industries and jobs to the County, and possibly have other positive economic and environmental benefits for the county and the region.
Much of the impetus for this project is the growing recognition that we need to reduce the fuel load in our forests for the sake of forest health and fire safety. The big question is what is the best way to deal with the slash produced in this effort with respect to costs and benefits to the environment, climate change and our local economy?
As we consider such a project there are many factors to consider: What is the sustainable level of the biomass supply? What is the right type and size of woody biomass facility to construct? Where should it be located? How can it be financed? Are there environmental or other groups likely to oppose this project and, if so, for what reasons? (http://www.mariposabiomassproject.org/index.html)
Recent project milestones:
On Sept. 6, 2016, the Mariposa Biomass Project, with the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District (MCRCD), submitted a Phase 1 application to the California Energy Commission for a $5 million EPIC grant to construct a demonstration biomass facility in Mariposa County. On Nov. 1, 2016, the MCRCD was informed that the MBP had passed Phase 1 and was invited to apply for Phase 2.
Following the Phase 1 notification, the MBP reached an agreement with Cortus Energy (http://www.cortus.se/about.html) as the technology partner in developing the demonstration biomass facility in Mariposa County.
The facility will help alleviate the fire threat caused by tree mortality by turning excess and dead vegetation into clean renewable energy. Cortus Energy will establish a California based corporation and partner with another California corporation to build, own and operate the facility.
The EPIC Grant Phase 2 application was submitted on Dec. 21, 2016, thanks to the excellent teamwork of the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District, the Mariposa Biomass Project, Cortus Energy, and Gladstein Neandross and Associates staff.
The final requirement to qualify for EPIC funds was achieved on Jan. 12, 2017, when the Mariposa Biomass Project closed escrow on two parcels in the Mariposa Industrial Park, near the Mariposa County Solid Waste Facility and PG&E substation.
The $224,000 Wood Innovations Grant, received by MBP and MCRCD in 2016, is funding the planning, permitting, and utility interconnections necessary to proceed with construction. All of the $16 million needed to build the facility is being supplied by grant funding and private investors.
MBP has put together a comprehensive Q&A, addressing everything from “what is biomass?” to “how will this affect air quality?” To have all your questions answered, visit http://www.mariposabiomassproject.org/BiomassFAQ.html
For more information on the project, visit the MBP website at http://www.mariposabiomassproject.org
The mission of the Mariposa County Resource Conservation District is to encourage and facilitate cooperative solutions to local resources conservation issues and problems. We provide technical, financial and educational resources, whatever their source, to meet the needs of the local land-users.