Low-Grade Markets, Oil Subsidies

Mike Hagen mhagen at olympus.net
Tue Feb 1 12:37:47 EST 2000

Exactly right.  This has turned into a really interesting thread.

 We had a somewhat similar situation occur here (the Olympic Peninsula)
about 12 years ago. A new medium security prison was proposed in an
isolated area with what appeared to be ample woods waste available for
its cogen plant. Waste steam would have been utilized. The wood
collection system would have kept some inmates occupied. And at the time
there was no doubt about there being ample fuel available.  A
feasibility study was begun and after a year, said "No" to the idea.
The cogeneration plan was stymied by many reasons which no one had been
able to foresee. Even now they seem unlikely. The Spotted Owl (just the
first in line) increased riparian, ESA and other set asides.  The
changeover from old growth logging (high defect) to second and third
growth (almost no defect) happened. Lack of loggable ground forced much
better utilization. Ten board foot rules became the norm. Pulp prices
went up. New processed wood products became common (12 years ago who'd
have thought ALL homes would be sheathed in flake board?) The
competition of a new high speed "japanese market" sawmill (pushed by the
same politicians who pushed the prison!) and the coffin nail - bargain
basement power rates from Bonneville Power Admin finalized the decision
- negatively.

Personally I like the idea of cogeneration as opposed to burning
petrochemicals.  But I think the forces are against it, at least the
woods waste angle. 

Now, using landfill waste has promise.

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