Bioenergy solution to California’s wildfire risk
By Scott Jamieson
September 6, 2013, San Francisco - Building strategically located bioenergy power plants will go a long way to reducing wildfire risks in California, according to an op-ed in the San Francisco Chronicle.
According to Julia Levin, executive director of the California Bioenergy Association, the current Yosemite fire should motivate Californians to start thinking prevention.
"The Rim Fire is a sad reminder that wildfires are a growing threat to
public health, safety and the water and power supplies for large parts
of California. California can significantly reduce those risks by
investing in small, sustainable forest biomass facilities that would use
green waste to create renewable energy," she explains.
"California has passed legislation (Senate Bill 1122, authored by former state Sen. Michael Rubio from Kern County) to accelerate bioenergy development from forestry and other organic waste sources, and it is now up to the Public Utilities Commission
to adopt rules that will get facilities built in time to prevent more
Rim Fires. These facilities use the forest biomass (brush, branches,
small trees, bark collected to reduce fire risks) as the fuel to
generate electricity in small power plants."
She says that the 50 MW of power the bill calls for would power 37,000 homes while helping avoid the massive carbon release and pollution from such large wildfires. Read the full piece here, or view stunning video of the Rim Fire.