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Learn about Bioenergy Day at the North Fork Biomass plant in North Fork, CA



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Erin Capuchino

Yosemite Sequoia RC&D Council

Phone: (559) 580-3042

Email: info@ysrcandd.org


Learn about Bioenergy Day at the North Fork Biomass plant in North Fork, CA


National Bioenergy Day is to be celebrated in the exact center of California, North Fork on Wednesday, October 19th at 10am.


[North Fork, CA – 10/10/2022 —]


National Bioenergy Day 2022 is to be celebrated in the exact center of California, North Fork. In 2016 the community attended the official groundbreaking for the innovative North Fork Biomass Disposal Facility. After years of roadblocks, Catastrophic wildfires, and a pandemic, the Plant is back under construction and seeing great strides toward completion. Phoenix Energy, The Watershed Research & Training Center, and Yosemite Sequoia RC&D Council invite the public to see the development of the facility, hear an update, and take a tour to celebrate National Bioenergy Day on Wednesday, October 19th, from 10 am to 12 pm at the Old Mill Site.


National Bioenergy Day is part of National Forest Products Week. Congress, through enactment of Public Law 86-753 (36 U.S.C. 123), as amended, has designated the week beginning on the third Sunday in October of each year as (October 16-22, 2022) to recognize the value of forest products and commit to conservation practices that help responsibly manage U.S. forests. This week celebrates the role and impact of forests and wood as integral components to the nation's environment, society, and economy.


“Bioenergy” uses any organic material, such as forest thinning, to generate heating, cooling, and/or electricity. In addition to serving as a domestic energy source, bioenergy is responsible for sustaining tens of thousands of jobs in rural communities where they are most needed. Bioenergy’s many stakeholders work closely together to keep American forests healthy and put organic byproducts like forest trimmings, industry byproducts, and agricultural residuals to good use.


“Woody biomass” is a sustainable substitute for fossil fuel-intensive products – and can play a crucial role in maintaining forest health. Our Nation’s forests are a sustainable and strategic natural resource that can help America achieve and enhance U.S. energy security, economic opportunity, environmental quality, and global competitiveness.

Bioenergy produces about 5.75% of the nation’s total energy and supplies full-time jobs for tens of thousands of Americans. It is clean, renewable energy made from low-value materials that would often otherwise be discarded. Bioenergy creates new markets for low-value wood fiber, which supports sustainable forest management, hazardous fuel reduction projects, and vibrant rural economies.” (FAQs (bioenergyday.com))


This project was primarily funded through a $5 million grant from the California Energy Commission’s EPIC (Electric Program Investment Charge) Program. Phoenix Energy has partnered to build and run the biomass plant. North Fork Community Power is a public/private partnership between the North Fork CDC and Phoenix Energy, and the North Fork Mono Rancheria funded the 12-acre parcel. Previous North Fork Community Development Council (CDC) President Dan Rosenberg noted all things are possible. “We’re going to sell it back to the grid through PG&E. With the money generated, it becomes an economic engine to our community.”


This project puts North Fork in the spotlight where it is recognized locally and state-wide; Phase I is to get the biomass disposal facility up and running. Phase II is to connect the facility to the local power grid and allow students from the University of California at Merced to analyze the quality of its feedstock, renewable natural gas, and biochar.


The plant will generate one to two megawatts of renewable energy consistent with California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard as outlined in Senate Bill 1122. The standard requires independently owned utility companies to buy 50 MW of power each year from 3 MW or smaller plants that generate power from sustainably harvested forest biomass. That’s enough electricity to power between 1,000 and 2,000 homes. The facility will use about 50 to 80 tons of biomass fuel per day (an average of two to four large truckloads). Another product of the process is biochar, a value-added soil amendment known for its carbon storage properties; this is great for local farmers as it retains water and is also used in water purification.


Overall, this project is carbon-neutral for air quality, and emissions drop significantly compared to open burning in fuel reduction. This project is being supported and developed by a team of NGOs, agencies, and private companies, including FCDC, CAL FIRE, USDA Forest Service, Phoenix Energy, Sierra Nevada Conservancy, Sierra Resource Conservation District, TSS Consultants, UC Merced, The Watershed Research and Training Center, and Yosemite/Sequoia Resource Conservation and Development Council.


Please join our partners on Wednesday, October 19th at 10am to learn more and see inside the plant!


Yosemite Sequoia Resource Conservation & Development Council is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to natural resource conservation and economic development. The Council service area includes the rural and foothill communities of Mariposa, Madera, Fresno, and Tulare counties.

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