This was in the Denver Post business section today. here’s the link and below is an excerpt.
Xcel Energy wants to pursue a demonstration project that would deliver electricity made from forest waste, according to a filing made Monday to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission.
The demonstration-scale biomass plant would convert dead trees and wood waste to an energy-rich gas in a process known as gasification. The produced gas would be ignited to spin turbines for power generation in the state.
Xcel said it will seek bids from independent power producers who would build the plant at a yet-to-be determined location.
In its filing to the PUC, Xcel said it would agree to buy up to two megawatts of generation for 10 years. Two megawatts serves the electricity needs of about 1,500 homes.
Colorado has an abundance of forest waste, resulting mostly from pine beetle-killed trees and drought. More than 6.6 million acres of Colorado forest have succumbed to beetle kill.
“Since 2007, Xcel Energy has been investigating small, forest biomass project opportunities,” said David Eves, president and chief executive of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel subsidiary. “Because the overall health of Colorado forests has degraded due to drought and infestation, there has been increasing interest among various stakeholders to pursue this type of demonstration project.”
One of the commenters asked why not convert directly… and linked to the Savannah River Cogen Plant site here.