2010 Feb. 23: MI Mancelona: Public Forums this week: DNRE approves Mancelona biomass plant

2010 Feb. 23: MI Mancelona: Public Forums this week: DNRE approves Mancelona biomass plant

By Eartha Jane Melzer 2/23/10 3:16 PM  
The Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment has issued an air permit for a 36 megawatt wood-fired power plant proposed in Mancelona by Mancelona Renewable Resources, a subsidiary of the natural gas and oil company Jordan Exploration.
According to figures from the DNRE the Mancelona plant will release more particulate, more volatile organic compounds and more nitrogen oxides per unit of power generated than the Consumers Energy coal plant approved for the Karn/Weadock complex near Bay City.

Wood is considered a renewable and carbon neutral energy source under state and federal energy rules, but some warn that burning wood for power is inefficient and polluting and will damage the ability of forests to sequester carbon.
Last night in Traverse City more than 100 people gathered at the Traverse Area District Library for a presentation on the dangers of biomass power plants.
Dr. Rachel Smolker, of the UK-based group BiofuelsWatch told the crowd that wood’s renewable designation is based on an accounting error that fails to measure the carbon released by burning wood or the amount of time that would be required to recapture that carbon in new trees.
Traverse City’s municipal electric utility, which currently gets 99 percent of its energy from coal, is considering building up to four biomass plants around town.
The utility has scheduled a series of public forums for this week to gauge support for the plan.
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