Many in Kings Beach don’t support biomass plant |

Many in Kings Beach don’t support biomass plant

KINGS BEACH – Some residents here are upset about the possibility of a biomass plant being erected in their backyard.

For Dawn Baffone, the thought of possible threats to area children are enough to be skeptical.

The biomass plant would transform woody material, such as small trees and brush cleared from area forests for fire fuels reduction, into electricity.

“I have two little girls and I am concerned that the emissions coming from the plant and the trucks could negatively affect their health,” said Baffone, who lives about 100 feet from a parcel in Kings Beach Placer County officials have proposed as a possible site for the energy-producing facility.

Baffone is one of the more outspoken people who live near the Speckled Avenue/Bear Street intersection – in proximity to the NV Energy property under consideration – who opposes erecting a biomass plant close to residential homes.

One parcel proposed for the project is about two blocks from Kings Beach Elementary School and the local Boys and Girls Club.

“It’s just too close to residences,” she said. “Biomass plants don’t belong in people’s neighborhoods.”

“My biggest concern is the noise,” said neighbor Ian Smith. “When you have five or six trucks coming by the house a day, combined with the different lifting equipment, that should exceed the neighborhood noise ordinances of 45 decibels.”

Christine Wright said she will wait until a environmental impact study is released before casting judgment.

“I’m not one of these NIMBY (not in my backyard) people,” she said. “If there is a possibility of putting it in Cabin Creek, I would favor that, but if they have to put it here, I am not totally opposed to that as of right now.”

Placer County, in cooperation with NV Energy, is requesting approval of a minor-use permit and a TRPA application to construct a 1- to 3-megawatt biomass energy facility at one of two locations:

• On a 1.3-acre site in Kings Beach, which would require the installation of either an underground or aboveground connection to NV Energy’s Kings Beach Substation on the adjacent 21.8-acre parcel; or

• On a 9.6-acre site in Tahoe City adjacent to the Placer County Administrative Offices, which would require switching equipment and a connection to NV Energy’s distribution line on the lake side of Highway 28.

Both parcels in Kings Beach are owned by NV Energy. The Tahoe City parcel is owned by Placer County. Both sites are located within the unincorporated portion of Placer County.

Biomass materials – the fuel for the facility – would be ground and screened at off-site locations, including primarily the Cabin Creek Processing Facility and Transfer Station (formerly Eastern Regional Landfill).

The project could require additional processing equipment, such as loaders and grinders, to be added at the Cabin Creek station. Some biomass processing may also occur at in-forest fuels reduction sites.

Brett Storey, Placer County project manager, said the environmental review process will address many of the concerns expressed by residents.

The review is under way and is scheduled for release in early 2011, Storey said.

Biomass consists of organic material, typically derived from plant matter, living or dead.

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