News & information on everything biomass — forest resources, habitat & environment, state & national energy topics.
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Win a prize for National
Bioenergy Day!

Michigan Biomass is giving away prizes to celebrate National Bioenergy Day, which is Oct. 19. CLICK HERE to enter to win a cell phone charger and 6-pack of LED light bulbs! And, learn about biomass, too!

Share with all your friends and followers on social media.

Biomass power is a significant source of renewable energy in Michigan and around the country. It aids forest resources, helps manage wood waste, and supports jobs and rural economies.

Get the whole story: Visit our website for details and contest rules, or to learn more about this national event. They have an excellent video that illustrates the benefits of biomass power generation.

Forest economy on track

Michigan’s forest economy is running ahead of schedule in meeting a $20 billion annual output goal set by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2013.

The Governor challenged the industry to “reinvent” and increase its annual economic output from $14 billion to $20 billion by 2018, adding 10% more jobs and expanding exports by 50%. The first two targets have been met.

“This is outstanding news for Michigan, and clear proof that sustainable forest management works for our natural resources and our economy,” Keith Creagh, Director of the Dept. of Natural Resources, said in a news release. “The state will continue to collaborate with industry leaders to keep this positive momentum going and to further boost exports of quality Michigan forest products.”

Forestry employs more than 96,600 people in Michigan, from loggers and truck drivers manufacturing. In the U.P., one-third of all manufacturing jobs are forest related.
Candidates visit biomass plants
State house candidates visited biomass power plants last month. From top left clockwise: Cadillac Renewable Energy manager Thomas Schmid points out emission controls to  Douglas Gabert (D-Reed City), 102nd Dist.; Daire Rendon (R-Lake City), 103rd Dist., is shown with Gary Melow of Michigan Biomass, and Tom Vine and Dean Taylor of Viking Energy in McBain; Sue Allor (R-Wolverine), 106th Dist., looks into the boiler with Neil Taratuta, manager at Viking Energy in Lincoln.

Transmission plan would reduce costs, shutter U.P. gas unit

The Michigan Agency on Energy says it supports a plan that would reduce energy support costs to U.P. electricity customers by as much as $12 million by replacing a natural gas generator with new transmission protocols.

The transmission plan proposed by American Transmission Co. (ATC) would mothball a natural gas unit at White Pine Power in Ontonagon, which had been operating under direction of the Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) in order to maintain reliability.

By changing system operations to what they were before 1998, ATC says it would eliminate the need to run White Pine for system support, and still meet regulator reliability criteria.

Not everyone thinks it's a good idea. State Rep. Scott Dianda (D-Keweenaw) said the plant's generation capacity is need and shutting it down would result in the lost of 20 jobs at the plant.

MISO's decision to end SSR support for the power plant means it could close in 90 days.

Read more at the Keweenaw Report.

Efficiency needed to ensure capacity, compliance with CPP

Energy efficiency will be a key part of Michigan's ability to meet power reliability requirements and potential clean energy regulations.

A study commissioned by the Michigan Agency on Energy shows that energy-saving incentives programs are needed in order to avoid power outages as the state's coal plants retire.

In a news release, Sally Talberg, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission, said the state is in a good position to comply with U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan, which is suspended while it undergoes legal challenges.

DTE plans new gas-fired power plant

DTE energy has announced plans for a 1000 MW natural gas power plant it wants to build near it's Belle River power plant in St. Clair County.

The Port Huron Times Herald reports the utility plans to have the facility -- or facilities -- on line in 2023 when several coal-fired units are scheduled to close. Estimated cost is between $1 billion and 1.5 billion.

Undeveloped property adjacent to the Bell River site is being eyed for one of the projects. The project could involve more than a single plant and multiple sites.

MISO delays new capacity auction launch

The Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) missed a federal filing deadline in July, delaying plans to implement its forward capacity auction until the 2018-19 planning year.

MISO intends to file in November.

Some stakeholders are happy with the delay saying more time is needed to get it right. The MISO independent market monitor however, would like to see the whole thing scrapped, he said, siting the MISO staff rejection of the plan. The MISO board should intervene, according to the MISO independent market monitor.

RTO Insider reports MISO’s Markets Committee will hold an executive session to assess whether to proceed with the filing.

State asks for reliability reports

Gov. Rick Snyder and the MAE have asked MISO to look at transmission connections with Ontario and the two Michigan peninsulas. However, MISO isn’t so sure the request is anything special.
Snyder and MAE Director Valerie Brader sent the letter in August, asking MISO to take a near- and long-term look at the benefits of transmission connections to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario and through the Straits of Mackinac. A key part of the study should be power flows associated with the Wolverine Power natural gas plant that plant near Elmira west of Gaylord, and nearby gas storage in Otsego and Kalkaska counties.
Two bills were introduced this year to look at connecting Upper and Lower peninsulas transmission; both creating oversight boards charged with studying the connection.
MISO told reports it’s too early to say if they will study the transmission proposal. It is also “processing” an earlier request from Michigan officials asking them to look at the reliability impacts of unplanned outages at coal and nuclear plants
The Power of Wood is published monthly by Michigan Biomass, a coalition that advocates for, and is supported by, the state's wood-fired power plants. Send questions, comments and inquiries to
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