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

Sent:                               Friday, February 12, 2016 2:11 PM

To:                                   Gary

Subject:                          The Power of Wood Winter 2016


hot off the press


Hillman Power gets contract extension

Hillman Power Co., LLC has signed a 17-month contract extension with Consumers Energy.

The initial 30-year contact between the biomass plant and utility expired Dec. 31.

The extension continues terms in the original pact, and coincides with pending legislation and activities at the Michigan Public Service Commission to update PURPA implementation — the federal law that sets the structure of power purchase agreements between independent power producers and regulated utilities.


Talberg to head MPSC

Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed Commissioner Sally Talberg as chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission, as current chair John Quackenbush returns to the private sector.

Quackenbush will continue in a commissioner post until March 31 to facilitate the transition, a statement from the governor’s office said.

In making the announcement, Snyder noted Talberg’s  “experience as an energy consultant,” and praised Quackenbush for his service.

Biewer opens mill in Mississippi

Michigan-based Biewer Lumber has announced the opening of a new mill in Mississippi. The $85 million project is expected to hire 125 workers.

Based in St. Clair, Biewer supplies retail lumber yards, home centers, and manufacturers throughout the eastern United States.

Owner Tim Biewer said in a news report the location was selected because of its “abundance of timber, available workforce, and its friendly business environment.”

See the announcement in the Mississippi Business Journal.

Verso files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The owner of Michigan's two remain paper mills has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.

Tennessee-based Verso is seeking $2.4 billion in debt relief, citing falling demand for its coated paper products.

Verso -- which owns paper mills in Escanaba and Quinnisec -- merged with NewPage just over a year ago.

The filing includes $600 million in operating capital and resource agreements that should help fuel suppliers recovery payments due for deliveries made prior to the filing.

The two Michigan mills consume about 4 million tons of wood annually.

Biomass in 'resiliency' plan

Biomass will qualify as a “resilient” source of energy in a piece of federal legislation sponsored by Michigan Congressman Rep. Fred Upton (R).

The North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015 would require electric utilities to include “resiliency-related technologies” and other approaches designed to improve electric infrastructure security, mitigate power outages, continue delivery of vital services and maintain the flow of power to critical facilities. And that fits the biomass bill.

Read more at Biomass Magazine.

Economics claim ME, CA biomass plants; suppliers concerned

Low energy prices are being blamed for the closure of biomass plants in Maine and California, putting fuel suppliers with no place to take their material.

In January, Covanta closed its Jonesboro and West Enfield biomass plants in Maine, saying that low energy prices won't cover the cost of production. Those economics are blamed, in part, in changes in a Massachusetts energy policy that disqualifies conventional biomass power generation from its renewable energy program. Maine and other New England biomass generators relied on the Mass. markets for revenue.

In California, the closure of biomass power plants have eliminated outlets for almond shells and orchard trimmings, dramatically increasing growers' costs and jeopardizing their farm operations.


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

Michigan energy legislation lingers into the new year

Legislation to overhaul Michigan's electric energy market carried over into 2016 with one package of bills awaiting action on the floor of the state house, and another awaiting committee substitutes.

Members of the house Energy Committee in November reported out a three-bill package that shifts Michigan's renewable energy policy from "standards" to "goals, sets up new regulatory processes and alters rules for non-utility alternative electric suppliers (AES) and their customers.

HB 4297 would eliminate Michigan's 10% renewable energy requirement, and sunset energy efficiency programs, replacing them with a hybrid plan that blends renewables and efficiency into a 30% by 2025 "goal."

HB 4298 would establish a new process to manage and regulate utilities, called an integrated resource plan (IRP); require AES to demonstrate it has adequate capacity resources; and new rules and limitations for AES customers.

HB 4725 sets up a body to review transmission infrastructure.

In the senate, SB 437 calls for an IRP and puts restrictions on new customers taking AES service. SB 438 replaces renewable portfolio standards with a "clean energy" standard and alters grid access for net metering customers.

The legislation is spurred by the federal Clean Power Plan that sets new environmental standards on power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The legislation in both chambers is expected to move before spring.



It's all about the Clean Power Plan

BREAKING NEWS: On February 9 the U.S. Supreme Court order a halt to the implantation of the Clean Power Plan pending the outcome of legal challenges undertaken by 27 states and fossil fuel interests.

Oral arguments at the U.S. District Court of Appeals, which upheld implementation, will begin June 2.

Outcomes are not expected until 2017, delaying the September 2016 deadline for states to submit their compliance plans.

The court decided 5-4 that there is a "fair prospect" that the complainants could prevail, and proceeding with implementation in that scenario could result in undo costs.


AS I STARTED PUTTING TOGETHER this edition of The Power of Wood, it seemed like all the news fit to print was caused by, or was otherwise connected to, the release of the federal Clean Power Plan and its accompanying rules from the U.S. EPA under Sec. 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

Under the authority of administrative rules, the Obama Administration has implemented the Clean Power Plan — regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; primarily carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power generators. The U.S EPA has released the rules on how those reductions will be achieved, implementing them under Sec. 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

So, here it is — bundled up, all in one spot, for your convenience.              — Gary Melow, Director


SIP modeling, process laid out

NOTE: The Michigan Agency for Energy announced Feb. 11 that it is suspending stakeholder engagement in developing its implementation plan.

Michigan’s major utilities and a few legislators are speaking out in response to the release of a framework for Michigan’s state implementation plan — or SIP — under the federal Clean Power Plan.

Michigan will be “well on its way” to achieving compliance with the U.S. EPA’s carbon rules in the near future,  according to the Michigan Agency for Energy (MAE) and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), in making the announcement recently.

The CPP seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions nationwide from power generators to 32% below 2005 levels by 2035.

Michigan must reduce its emissions by 36% using a combination of using more natural gas and renewable instead of coal, and improving efficiency at existing power plants.

See more at

MISO says it's CPP-ready

The Mid-Continent Independent System Operator (MISO) — the entity that operates the transmission system from Louisiana to Michigan, and manages the flow of power to it — has told federal regulators everything is in place to meet its 2025 requirements under the Clean Power Plan.

MISO also estimated the cost of this compliance to electricity ratepayers within its seven-state region: $5.8 billion to $104 billion, based on models that ranged natural gas prices $1.30 to $6.30 per million Btu.

Read more at Utility Dive.


Courts rejects stay on Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Court of Appeals on Jan. 21 denied a request from various states attorneys generals, including Michigan's Bill Schuette, to stay implementation of the federal Clean Power Plan.

The decision follows a similar rejection of a suit brought by the state of W. Virginia and other fossil-fuel interests.

The issue will eventually land in the U.S. Supreme Court, likely next year.

See more at Utility Dive.


Copyright © 2016 Michigan Biomass, All rights reserved.
Your are receiving this newsletter as a courtesy of Michigan Biomass.

Our mailing address is:

Michigan Biomass

PO Box 11

Ithaca, MI 48847

Add us to your address book

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by MailChimp