Renewable energy coalition discusses possible biomass plant

Renewable energy coalition discusses possible biomass plant

CALUMET — The Keweenaw Renewable Energy Coalition is one step closer to helping bring a solution to the energy crisis in the Copper Country.

Last night, KREC gathered experts in the logging and timber industries for a biomass working session to discuss the future of a possible 11-megawatt biomass electric plant.

They were joined via Skype by Asko Ojaniemi, the head of an energy efficiency solutions company in Finland. The plan is to bring in his team to design a plant that matches the needs of the area.

KREC’s treasurer says one of the bigger decisions will be the location of the plant.

“We can offer our opinion on whether a particular site has value where there is more community benefit there. But we would like to leave that discussion to those land owners and the people who can make certain aspects of the plan happen. We’d like to push that out to the community level and let that decision eventually be made at the community level,” Lockwood said.

Northern Hardwoods in Atlantic Mine and Rockwood Concepts in Mohawk have been discussed. Lockwood says Northern Hardwoods would be the ideal location.

“The site in Atlantic Mine is better for a number of reasons. It’s closer to the population. There’s 36,000 people in Houghton county and only 2,000 in Keweenaw county. So siting that closest to the fuel assets and the community is the smarter thing to do probably,” said Lockwood.

The next step will be to get the experts together with the utility companies to discuss implementing the new assets on the electrical grid. That meeting is set to take place by mid–February.