From:                              Michigan Biomass <> on behalf of Michigan Biomass <>

Sent:                               Friday, November 20, 2015 10:42 AM

To:                                   Gary

Subject:                          News & Information on Biomass Energy in Michigan


hot off the press


Energy bills pass house panel

The Michigan House Energy Policy Committee has passed a package of energy bills that modify renewable energy policy and regulation of the electricity market.

The bills must pass the full house and senate before they become law.

Under the plan, Michigan's renewable portfolio standards will expand from 10% to 30% by 2025 with a hybrid system of renewable energy and energy efficiency goals. It establishes a new process to manage regulated utilities called an integrated resource plan, sets new requirements on non-utility electricity providers, and sets up a body to review transmission infrastructure.


Particleboard mill coming to Grayling

Arauco North America, has announced plans to build the continent’s largest a particleboard plant near Grayling with capacity to consumer a million tons of pulpwood annually.

The $325 million project will provide 250 permanent full-time jobs and consume an estimated 1 million green tons of wood annually to make about 424 million sq. ft. annually of medium density fiberboard (MDF) and decorative panels.


The project will be sited on 600 acres on 4 Mile Road near I-75 near Grayling Generating Station and clustered with other forest products industries. It will not have an on-site biomass energy boiler, unlike other plants Arauco operates, which is typically part of its standard business model.

It will be the single largest continuous particleboard press in North America, and one of the highest capacity presses in the world. Ground-breaking is estimated for late 2016, with the roll-out of the first panel during the latter part of 2018.


Michigan was selected over North Carolina in part because of its proximity to its Sault Ste. Marie, ON plant and Midwest markets.


ARAUCO is a Chile-based company with operations in North and South America.

Read the company press release here.

Michigan flooring company gets USFS biomass energy grant

Connor Sports in Amasa, MI has been awarded a grant from the U.S. Forest Service that will be used to support a major boiler automation project to improve the efficiency of the company’s manufacturing mill.

The grant through the USFS Wood Education and Resource Center provides support for projects in the eastern hardwood region that maintain and expand economic opportunities in the hardwood industry while reducing dependency on fossil fuels and encouraging the increased use of biomass fuel sources.

The timing of the project coincides with the start of the 2015-2016 college basketball season, when thousands of men’s and women’s games from all levels of the NCAA will be played on Connor courts.



EPA publishes carbon rules

The U.S. EPA last week published its 111(d) rules of the Clean Air Act in the Federal Register, starting the clock on a 90-day comment period.


Preliminary review shows little change from the proposed rules released in November last year. Sustainability requirements are left up to state implementation plans, but must past EPA muster.

The only power that will count toward carbon reduction targets are from facilities on line after 2012.


Want to know more? Get started here.


The Power of Wood is published quarterly 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


Tom Allen of Genesee Power Station talks with state Rep. Bill LaVoy of Monroe during National Bioenergy Day tours at Genesee Power Station on Oct. 23.  The plant hosted tours for student groups and local officials and legislators as one of 60 such events nationwide.



MPSC takes up PURPA, avoided costs

The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) has adopted its own orders that direct staff to assemble a workgroup tasked with setting a new avoided cost rate structure under federal law.
The order directs the Energy Reliability Division to conduct a workgroup on how Michigan should comply with the Public Utility Regulatory Policy Act, a federal law known as "PURPA" that sets terms for electricity sales from certain small power facilities, such as biomass power plants. The workgroup report is due April 8, 2016.

Consumers Energy and DTE have PURPA power purchase agreements with independent power producers.

The MPSC docket is
U-17973 and includes a PURPA report prepared by MPSC staff.

“The current method Michigan uses to determine a utility’s avoided cost rate ... under PURPA has been in place since the early 1980s. Conditions today are significantly different than those faced in 1978 when PURPA became the law of the land,” MPSC Chairman John Quackenbush said in a prepared statement.

Some of those contracts begin expiring at the end of the year.

“There is significant uncertainty over the future of these contracts. Now is an appropriate time for a comprehensive examination of PURPA and avoided cost issues," Quackenbush said.

Forestry summit held

More than 100 people attended the Governor’s 2015 Forest Products Summit on the campus of Michigan State University in October.

Dept. of Natural Resources Director Keith Creagh was presented the Tubor Award for outstanding contribution to forest resources, from the Michigan Forest Products Council, then signed a master agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to implement the Good Neighbor Authority; a Farm Bill partnership with the state to aid in accomplishing federal forest harvest and management plans. That arrangement will expedite the harvest of nearly 9 million board feet of timber on Michigan’s three national forests.


The agenda was heavy on forest economics, including baseline data that will be used to mark progress toward the goals of growing the forest economy, and market economics to help identify where to focus those efforts.

Biomass energy was also on the agenda.


Michigan to file carbon plan with EPA

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has announced that Michigan will submit a state implementation plan (SIP) under the Clean Power Plan, saying it’s in the state's best interest to have its own plan rather than comply with one developed by Washington, DC regulators.


Utilities, renewables, environmental groups, manufacturers and independent power producers, including Michigan Biomass, support the move.

Cobb power plant shutdown detailed

Consumers Energy has detailed its timeframe for the shutdown and demolition of the B.C. Cobb coal-fired power plant in Muskegon.

The last shipment of coal is expected to be delivered in November.


The plant will cease operations by April 2016, according to a report in MLive, and go “dark" by June. An electrical switch station will be separated from the plant and remain on the site. The rest of plant could be demolished by the end of 2018.


Discussions are also underway on how to best redevelop the site.

Utilities drops RE surcharge

The Michigan Public Service Commission has approved a request from DTE Energy to eliminate its renewable energy and energy efficiency surcharge.

The 2008 statute that set the state’s renewable portfolio standards allowed utilities to levy monthly surcharges on ratepayer bills to fund the program ($3 month cap on residential ratepayers. The falling cost of renewable energy systems, particularly wind, has gradually whittled down the need for those charges.

Consumers Energy stopped its surcharge last year.

DTE announces closures

DTE Energy has announced it will mothball 210 megawatt (MW) of coal-fired capacity at its 730-MW Trenton Channel Power Plant.

The closures will take place by 2016 and are in response to the expectation of more stringent air emission requirements from U.S. EPA.

Other units at Trenton Channel were shut down previously. The 520-MW unit #9 will remain on line.

LBW&L eyes big solar

The Lansing Board of Water and Light (LBWL) is seeking proposals for a 5 MW solar project, which would be more than five times bigger than the current record holder — DTE Energy’s 818 kW system.

LBWL currently has two systems totaling 553 kW.

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