The League of Women Voters of Clallam County and Peninsula College host a free forum on biomass from 6:30-9 p.m. Monday, May 23, at the Peninsula College Theater, 1502 E. Lauridsen, Port Angeles. The educational forum includes a panel of speakers followed by a question and answer period.
Speakers include John Calhoun, president, Clallam Economic Development Council and a commissioner of the Port of Port Angeles, speaking about forest health; Tom Swanson, vice president and area manager for Green Crow Corporation, speaking about jobs and the economy; Bob Lynette, energy consultant, “Energy Pioneer” award recipient and teacher, speaking about environmental considerations; and Carrie Nyssen, regional director of Advocacy and Air Quality of the American Lung Association, speaking about human health.
Biomass is organic material such as wood, crops and grass clippings but now is more commonly used to refer to the process of treating or burning organic materials to produce fuels, heat or electricity. This forum will address wood burning for energy, since this is the form of energy being considered on the north end of the Olympic Peninsula.
In 2010, Port Angeles approved Nippon Industries’ permit for a $71 million biomass project, an energy-producing biomass boiler. Citing possible impacts on forest and human health, opponents of biomass burning organized and have enlisted public support.
The boiler would replace Nippon’s current boiler and, in addition to providing steam to process the mill products, it would generate electricity to be sold to Bonneville Power Administration or other utilities. The dual use is commonly referred to as a “cogeneration” plant. Nippon claims that the process would be more efficient than its current boiler and would reduce the mill’s air emissions.