Washington Governor OKs State Forest Biomass Initiative

March 29, 2010

Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation on March 19 allowing the state's Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) to enter into long-term biomass supply agreements with biomass energy companies. The Forest Biomass Supply Agreements Bill will enable companies to secure reliable and predictably priced biomass feedstock from state forest lands. Backers hailed the measure as a means to boost the timber economy while helping maintain forest health.

The measure compliments HB 2165, which was enacted into law last year and authorize DNR to implement forest biomass energy pilot projects in eastern and western Washington by removing forest biomass feedstock in ecologically sustainable ways to produce energy as liquid fuels or heat and electricity. In January, four pilot projects selected by DNR under the Forest Biomass Initiative were: Parametric in Bingen, which is developing a transportable system that uses fast pyrolysis technology to rapidly convert forest biomass to liquid fuels and bio-char; Borgford Bioenergy, Colville, will build a state of the art energy production facility with its main outputs being electricity (9.4 megawatts), bio-oil (2,000 gal/day), syngas (14,000 lbs./day), and bio-char; Atlas Pellets, Omak, which will begin to expand the volume of the pellets it manufactures from forest biomass; Nippon Paper, Port Angeles, which will replace an existing biomass boiler at its paper mill one having increased capacity that also creates 6 MW of excess power will be sold to a utility with renewable energy requirements. See the DNR press release and Forest Biomass Initiative Web site.