California officials propose two biomass facilities

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Napa, California, city council and the city’s waste hauler, Napa Recycling and Waste Services, have proposed two biomass facilities that diverts wood waste from landfill. The pair of plants will use gasification to generate power.

The biomass plant would be located at the Napa Materials Diversion Facility and city officials say it will create 2 megawatts of electricity that Napa Waste and Recycling can sell to Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E), which supplies electricity locally.

According to a local report, the proposal would extend the relationship between the city and Napa Recycling until 2031. The two plants, each with a 1-megawatt capacity, would cost $12.6 million to build and would generate around 15,000 megawatt-hours per year for 2,200 households.

Ten percent of the power would be used by Napa Waste and Recycling and the rest would be sold to PG&E to flow into the grid. Selling the electricity to PG&E would create $1.75 million in extra revenue for Napa Waste and Recycling, the report says.

Napa Waste and Recycling also stated in the proposal that the biochar produced as a byproduct would be sold separately as fertilizer or a water filtering agent. Biochar sales would create $1.37 million of revenue per year for the company.

The city’s public works department said the biomass plant would turn a $5.1 million profit over its first 20 years, the report says. The city’s base payment to Napa Waste and Recycling would increase from $10.6 million to $15.6 million in 2019. With revenue from power and biochar sales, and savings from not having to haul the wood waste out of the area, the net cost increase would be limited to $1.8 million.

If passed, the city projected a 9.5 percent increase to residential rates over two years. The proposal also calls for using compressed natural gas vehicles and improved sorting equipment.