US Forest Service Woody Biomass Utilization

Woody Biomass Utilization

Rocky Mountain Region purchases forest biomass-based Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from a local Colorado power plant

Who: The USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Region, and State & Private Forestry in the Chief’s Office working together have purchased the first forest biomass-based Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) to be sold on the voluntary market. The sale of 730 megawatt-hours was complete in September 2005. The biomass–based RECs were offered by Aquila's W.N. Clark Generating Station in Cañon City, Colorado. Certification of the RECs, environmental assessment and preliminary marketing strategy was provided by the Colorado Governor's Office of Energy Management and Conservation (OEMC) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Aquila provided cost-sharing to the project, and McNeil Technologies provided technical support. The project builds upon previous technical assistance provided to Aquila by the USDA Forest Service, State & Private Forestry and the Colorado State Forest Service through Dr. Kurt Mackes of the Colorado Wood Utilization and Marketing Assistance Program.

What: Aquila is replacing a portion of the coal it uses with wood chips obtained from forest thinning. Due to the significant net environmental benefits gained by displacing coal, the portion of electricity generated from forest thinning has qualified for EcoPower certification. Environmental Resources Trust (ERT) issued its approval based on the reduction of sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide emissions.

RECs represent the environmental attributes of renewable energy generation, but they do not include the actual power generated. Unlike electricity, RECs can be sold beyond the boundaries of a utility's service area, expanding the green power market and making it possible for people anywhere to support green power options.

Where: Contact Bob Dettmann,, 303-275-5741 or Angela Crooks,, 303-866-2309.

When: Aquila generated the 730 Megawatt-hours (MWh) electricity using biomass in 2005.

Why: To cover the additional costs of using forest biomass, Aquila received $23 per MWh for the RECs ($16,790).

US Forest Service
Woody Biomass Utilization Team
Sidney R.Yates Federal Building
3rd Floor Southwest
201 14th Street, S.W. at Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250

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Last modified: Thursday, 06-Oct-2016 15:57:22 CDT