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Biomass Energy and Forestry Firms


Packer16
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I don't follow timber companies that close so I was wondering if anyone would know the impact of more biomass generating capacity (the largest projected increase of any energy type over the next few years) would have on the forestry firms?  TIA.

 

Packer

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I can't speak to the impact of biomass energy on any particular timber company's bottom line, but I do some technical consulting work for a couple of such plants in our area and can address the impact they have on mill operations and local energy infrastructure.  These plants are quite economical from that perspective, delivering power at around 4 cents per kilowatt hour here, compared to 11 to 13 cents from PG&E.  What's more, the mills are typically located in relatively underserved rural areas where once the power plants are constructed the communities quickly become dependent on any surplus power they are able to deliver to the grid.  Because of the nature of the fuel they use they tend to be a great deal more maintenance intensive than conventional fossil plants but there are so many side benefits to how they operate that it is generally viewed as well worth the investment.

 

In short, it's a good business, and over the years these plants have been among my best and most reliable customers.

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Packer,

 

More opinion than fact with this comment, but having done some research...I believe the future of bio-mass fuels will not be with wood.

 

The stimulus program has ~$800M for biomass research and projects.

 

http://www1.eere.energy.gov/biomass/news_detail.html?news_id=12488

 

Switchgrass seems to be a possible land crop and algae is really interesting - there $50M going into algae projects.

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