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  • Friday, January 20, 2017 8:49 AM | Elise Fox (Administrator)

    In 2016, the SC Energy Office embarked on its ambitious plan to develop a new Energy Plan for the State of South Carolina.  The SCBC is thankful for the opportunity to participate in the effort and we made four recommendations to the Renewables Subcommittee, three of which were accepted and will be incorporated into the plan, pending approval by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.  The Energy Plan is currently in final preparation stages and will hopefully be submitted to the PURC for approval in February.  We will keep you posted on the outcome of our recommendations.  Further information on the Energy Plan can be found at: http://www.energy.sc.gov/node/2331?pc=2332.  Our recommendations accepted for consideration by the Renewables Subcommittee were as follows:

    • 1.      Develop a Plan for Acceptable Use of Beneficial Waste-to-Energy in South Carolina

    Challenge:  Problematic wastes streams that cannot be recycled exist throughout the state which could be utilized for waste-to-energy, rather than landfilling. This requires defining preferred pathways for these waste streams which are acceptable from the environmental standpoint, then providing encouragement or incentive to develop.

    Background: There are significant waste streams (often biomass-based) which could be funneled to a beneficial use by using a waste-to-energy process.  Sometimes, this can involve a commonly used waste product such as waste wood from land-clearing or timbering which has no market locally in a particular region due to the economic limitation of freight costs.  At other times, this could be a state-wide need for a beneficial waste use.

    The South Carolina Department of Commerce has a committee named RMDAC (Recycling Market Development Advisory Council) which is tasked with finding markets for recycled materials, and could help with determining the waste stream availability. DHEC also has responsibility for waste accounting and supervision in the state, as well as for air and water quality when the waste is processed. The SC Energy Office monitors energy use and production in the state. Among these entities, the knowledge and responsibility could be harnessed to develop best practices for utilizing these wastes, and then incentivizing the preferred pathways.

    Recommended Approach: Establish a task force, under the guidance of RMDAC and including other related stakeholders, to identify the economically significant waste streams that are unutilized in the state. Prioritize developing beneficial uses for the waste streams, based on economic and environmental benefit. Make recommendations for incentives that could result in creation of new waste-to-energy projects to meet this need. Create marketing assistance (exchanges, or buyer-seller lists and maps) for waste streams when this would be helpful.

    Timeframe:  Begin upon approval, and continue with yearly reassessments of relevant changes.

    • 2.       Increasing the utilization of forestry byproducts, tree trimmings, and waste wood

    Challenge:  South Carolina’s forestry industry is already a major economic contributor to the state and there are forestry byproducts and residuals that could add incremental revenues to landowners and forest products processers if nearby markets were available. Additionally, tree trimmings and other forms of wood waste can be diverted from landfills for beneficial use as fuel wood. 

    Background: More nuclear generation will be incorporated in South Carolina’s electric generation mix (with no load-following capability), along with more solar generation at utility-scale and behind the meter in homes and businesses. As restrictions on coal or the desire to reduce coal use increase, the need for load-following and peaking units becomes more important. Only natural gas, hydro, biomass, and energy storage are left as dispatchable generating resources that can adjust with load variation.  The current price of natural gas generation drives utilities to run these units as base-load so that there is less ability to use them for peaking or load-follow capacity. There is very limited ability to expand hydro generation.  As a result of these constraints, the increased use of electric generation that uses waste wood could be beneficial to the utilities. Waste wood as a fuel also provides emission benefits and economic benefits to the state, especially in the rural economy. Forestry jobs would increase, and fuel dollars would be paid to in-state landowners instead of exported to coal or natural gas producing states. Less transport would be required since the wood is available locally in South Carolina.

    Recommended Approach: The South Carolina Forestry Commission monitors the forestry products markets and could provide fuel wood studies to determine where sufficient forestry residuals, forestry byproducts, urban wood waste and suitable tree/yard trimmings exist for wood-fueled generating station sites. A task force of state government, state environmental groups and industry could prepare recommendations to legislators to develop additional in-state electric generation from this resource ensuring no conversion of natural forests.

    Timeframe:  Begin upon approval.

    • 3.       Develop State Support and Implementation of Purposely Grown Crops for Biofuels and Bioenergy

    Challenge:  Purposely grown crops produced for biofuels and bioenergy can serve a significant role in meeting the State’s liquid and solid fuel energy needs.  The challenge will be to identify which biomass crops will be most sustainable for production in South Carolina and to determine the most profitable means to harvest, transport, and store the biomass while minimizing its Carbon footprint. It will be necessary for the costs associated with biomass crops to be competitive with the costs associated with fossil fuels.

    Background: Biomass produced in South Carolina represents significant economic opportunities for the State’s rural landowners and farmers by creating jobs and tax revenues in the agricultural and forestry sector, the current largest industries in the State. Bioenergy crops are generally more drought tolerant and require fewer inputs to produce than traditional food crops, and are well suited for production by limited resource farmers.  They are more adapted for production on the State’s many marginal, sandy soils and are safer for the environment than most food crops.  Current research emphasis on adding bio-product benefits to biomass crops will also result in another revenue stream to farmers and landowners.  Several of the biomass crops offer environmental services such as improving soil quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat, compared to traditional agriculture and forestry land uses. 

    Recommended Approach: Work with Clemson University to develop recommendations and a plan for the use of biomass crops, such as purposely grown trees, perennial grasses, annual sorghum crops, and to a lesser extent food crop residues to be utilized to meet South Carolina energy needs, and contribute to the energy independence and the economy of South Carolina.

    Timeframe:  Begin upon approval


  • Wednesday, January 20, 2016 9:55 AM | Erika Myers

    From former Chair, Liz Kress:

    South Carolina's gets some of its distinctive beauty from its forests. I have learned firsthand that forests are a "Use it or lose it" resource. You don't have to ride very far to see trees disappearing to development.  Biomass use can provide a little more income for the landowner so that we can preserve more of this beauty.


    Thanks very much to the outgoing Board members, Erika Myers and Dwight Stewart, as well as our other members, who have helped maintain a vision for the SCBC this year. It has been a year of significance in energy policy, and the SCBC was ready to help guide the policy development so that it was right for South Carolina. If each of you saw what I saw this past year, you would realize what a valuable organization this is. 


    I also want to welcome our two new board members, Tom French and Crad Jaynes, who each bring additional strengths to the organization and will continue to move forward the mission of the SCBC. We also welcome back Elise Fox who served an abbreviated term and was willing to come back for another full-term. Thank you for the opportunity to serve as Chair. It was a pleasure and an honor.


    Sincerely, 

    Liz Kress


  • Tuesday, January 12, 2016 12:51 PM | Erika Myers

    SCBC member and SC Forestry Commission staffer, Tim Adams, provided a presentation to a group of SCBC members and other biomass stakeholders on January 6. The presentation provided an overview of wood resources within South Carolina. In addition to provided an overview of the components of a State Biomass Plan, he also discussed existing wood resources and examples of woody biomass uses to date. According to studies by the Forestry Commission, timberland acreage is stable while wood volume is increasing. Further, SC forests contain more wood than ever recorded and will continue to grow in the near future.

  • Friday, December 11, 2015 12:27 PM | Erika Myers

    The SCBC Board of Directors has three board nominees to offer to you for 2016. The nominees are Tom French (former Chair of SCBC and retired from the Savannah River National Laboratory), Crad Jaynes (President and CEO of SC Timber Producers Association), and Elise Fox (Savannah River National Laboratory). Note: Elise was elected to fill an unexpired term last year, and has agreed to be nominated to fill a full 3-year term of her own.

     

    It is also important to ask for board nominees from the membership. If there are additional nominees that you wish to submit for the ballot, please respond to eakress@santeecooper.com by December 21, 2015.

     

    Members will receive an election ballot with a biography of the nominees by Dec 23, and votes will be collected through January 6.

     

    The Board is planning to develop Membership and Communications committees in 2016 to strengthen the SCBC, and as always would appreciate your input on ways to improve our organization.

     


  • Tuesday, November 24, 2015 12:20 PM | Erika Myers

    During the fourth quarterly meeting on November 17, 2015 the SC Biomass Council met at Savannah River National Laboratory in Aiken, SC.  During a presentation titled, “Natural resources management at the Savannah River Site” was given by Dr. Andy Horcher of the U.S Forestry Service.  He discussed how the U.S. Forestry Service manages nearly 300 square miles of woodlands on the SRS.  Following his presentation, Ken Chacey, Plant Manager of the Ameresco Biomass Co-Generation facility, provided an overview of plant construction and management.  The 25 attendees then boarded a bus to the co-gen facility.  The walking tour included the control room, water treatment facility, feedstock storage, and boiler tours.


  • Tuesday, November 10, 2015 9:56 AM | Erika Myers

    SCBC representatives will be attending four upcoming public forums on the Clean Power Plan (CPP) between November and December in the Pee Dee, Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry. These public engagement sessions will provide information on the final CPP rule and future opportunities. 


    We encourage all of our members and bioenergy stakeholders to attend and represent your interests in biomass during these forums. For more details about the locations, dates, and times of these sessions please go to the SC Clean Power Plan home page.

  • Wednesday, October 21, 2015 9:17 AM | Erika Myers

    Today is a day of learning and education for both supporters and newcomers to biomass energy. The SCBC would like to thank and recognize all of the industry representatives, utilities, educational organizations, and government entities who have tirelessly worked to promote bioenergy in South Carolina. We would also like to give a big THANK YOU to our members, corporate sponsors, and stakeholders who have helped the SCBC since our inception in 2007. It has been a great eight years and we look forward to another eight years. 


    For anyone interested in learning more about bioenergy, a series of free bioenergy webinars hosted by the WA State University Extension is available this week. Topics include: 

    Sustainable biofuel production in the Southeastern US

    Developing the US bioeconomy in a global context

    Life cycle assessment of biojet fuel

    And much more!


    It is also not too late to sign up for our biomass tour at the Savannah River Site! Check out our events page for more information. 

  • Thursday, October 01, 2015 12:38 PM | Erika Myers
    This month officially kicks off the third annual National Bioenergy Day on October 21st. Participating organizations will open their doors to communities to demonstrate the benefits of bioenergy. 


    Although there are no organized events this year in South Carolina, plenty of tours are available in North Carolina and other states around the Southeast. Alternatively, you can wait until our big bioenergy tour event at the Savannah River Site in November. If you have not signed up, but want to attend, please do so ASAP. 


    If you are interested in National Bioenergy Day activities, and would like to learn more, go to http://bioenergyday.com/. 

  • Wednesday, September 09, 2015 9:05 PM | Erika Myers
    Today, Myra Reese and Henry Porter from the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) provided presentations to an audience of approximately 40 SC Biomass Council members and guests about the implications of the proposed EPA Clean Power Plan and biomass resources in the state. Key takeaways from the presentations included:

    • Uncertainties about what types of biomass could be included as part of the state implementation plan (SIP); additional biomass definitions and eligible resources must be provided by the EPA; 
    • DHEC has limited understanding of biomass resource availability in SC and could use assistance from the biomass community to help inform SIP proposals; and
    • Clean Energy Incentives will be in place in 2020 and 2021 to encourage early investments in renewable energy, including potentially biomass energy. 
    For more information, please download a copy of the presentation slide deck from Myra Reese and Henry Porter. For additional questions, contact information for both DHEC staff are included in the links.

  • Tuesday, September 08, 2015 1:59 PM | Erika Myers

    The SC Biomass Council just released a new fact sheet and report on Combined Heat and Power opportunities for South Carolina. The report, developed for the SCBC by the DOE Southeast CHP Technical Assistance Partnership, documents nearly 4,000 MW of possible additional CHP resources in SC, much of which could be accomplished through renewable resources, such as biomass energy. Check out the resources section to download a copy of the report and fact sheet today!

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