Duke Energy issues request for renewable energy proposals

US utility company Duke Energy Carolinas (DEC) has issued a request for 750,000MWh of energy located in its territory, including biomass and landfill gas installations.

Results from the request for proposals (RFP) will help DEC meet North Carolina’s 2007 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), which mandates the company generate 12.5% of its retail sales in the state by renewable energy or energy efficiency programmes by 2021.

The RFP is open to biomass, landfill gas, solar, wind, and other facilities that qualify as a renewable energy resource under REPS requirements, excluding swine and poultry waste.

Source: Duke Energy issues request for renewable energy proposals | Bioenergy Insight

DOE: New pilot plant co-processes biomass, petroleum

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory, together with leading petroleum refining technologies supplier W.R. Grace, and leading pilot plant designer Zeton Inc., built a unique pilot-scale facility that can produce biomass-derived fuel intermediates with existing petroleum refinery infrastructure. This pilot plant, constructed in part with funding from the Bioenergy Technologies Office, combines biomass pyrolysis together with fluid catalytic cracking—one of the most important conversion processes used in petroleum refineries—to demonstrate the potential to co-process biomass-derived streams with petroleum, at an industrially-relevant pilot scale.

There are 110 domestic fluid catalytic cracking units currently operating in the United States. Using them to co-produce biofuel could enable production of more than 8 billion gallons of bio-derived fuels, without construction of separate biorefineries. This would significantly contribute to the renewable fuel standard mandate set by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to produce 21 billion gallons of advanced renewable transportation fuels by 2022.

Source: DOE: New pilot plant co-processes biomass, petroleum | Biomassmagazine.com

Significant deforestation in Brazilian Amazon goes undetected, study finds

Efforts by the Brazilian government over the past 15 years to curb deforestation have been a widely celebrated success, but a new study finds that there’s more deforestation happening in Brazil than official accounts suggest.

The study, led by researchers from Brown University, compared data from Brazil’s official Monitoring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by Satellite Project (PRODES) with two independent satellite measures of forest cover. The study found that about 9,000 square kilometers of forestland not included in PRODES monitoring were cleared from 2008 to 2012. That’s an area roughly the size of Puerto Rico.

“PRODES has been an incredible monitoring tool and has facilitated the successful enforcement of policies,” said Leah VanWey, co-author of the research and senior deputy director at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society. “But we show evidence that landowners are working around it in ways that are destroying important forests.”
The research is published in the journal Conservation Letters.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-significant-deforestation-brazilian-amazon-undetected.html#jCp

Source: Significant deforestation in Brazilian Amazon goes undetected, study finds – Phys.org

Federal land is too rich for state

If Wyoming officials want more say in how their federal lands are managed, they ought to craft influential state- or local-level plans rather than trying to altogether wrest away control.

That’s the upshot of a $75,000 study on how realistic it would be for Wyoming to manage the bulk of its federally owned public lands. The document was released to the public Tuesday.

“In essence, our recommendation is to work to phase more management to the state gradually,” the study says, “with the ultimate goal of providing the state and local communities with more influence over federal land management activities while avoiding inheriting the crippling bureaucracy, costs, and litigation…”

Source: Federal land is too rich for state

Proposals solicited for Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program

The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc. (Endowment) today released the 2017 Request for Proposals for the Healthy Watersheds Consortium Grant Program. Additional grant funds are available in 2017-2018 through a new partnership with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). Up to $2 million is available for the 2017 Healthy Watershed Consortium grant cycle. NRCS joins the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Endowment as Healthy Watershed Consortium Grant Program funders. The program’s focus is to accelerate the strategic protection of healthy freshwater ecosystems and their watersheds across the country. The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2017 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

Source: Healthy Watershed Grant Consortium Program grows | Forest Business Network

How bark beetles use mob mentality to kill millions of California trees

There are killing machines on the loose in California and the entire Western region.

They’re found in packs and look for the weak but they’re not the scary predator you’d imagine. In fact, they’re about the size of a rice grain.

They’re called bark beetles.

A June 2016 Cal Fire report stated the ongoing drought in combination with the tiny insects are responsible for killing about 66 million trees in California since 2010. That’s up from 29 million trees in 2015 and 3.3 million in 2014, according to the report.

Source: How bark beetles use mob mentality to kill millions of California trees | ABC10.com

Britain’s biomass generation carries big emissions risk, report claims

The UK’s renewable energy industry has hit back at new economic analysis which finds that biomass power could be causing more carbon pollution than burning coal or natural gas, claiming it is “distorting the facts”.

A study released today (17 October) by US-based environmental organisation the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) examines the ‘full system costs’ of wind and solar energy relative to biomass for replacing coal and meeting the UK’s clean energy targets for the period 2020-25.

Considering the latest technology costs; the cost of ensuring reliability of supply, and carbon costs, the NRDC concludes that wind and solar power are likely to be less expensive than burning trees for biomass, and that many forms of biomass – such as that from forests – have been producing higher carbon emissions than coal and natural gas for decades.

However, the report has been discredited by the Renewable Energy Association (REA), which in 2013 founded the Wood Heat Association to support the modern wood heat & biomass generation.

The REA’s head of policy and external affairs James Court told edie: “It is a shame that yet again, misleading reports are fundamentally distorting the facts with a misunderstanding of how the biomass industry works. The REA and wider industry are always eager to engage with any report into the carbon savings that biomass can achieve, something this organisation did not try to obtain.”

Source: Britain’s biomass generation carries big emissions risk, report claims

UF/IFAS-Based PINEMAP Project Earns National Award From USDA

The PINEMAP project, based within the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, devoted five years to helping the Southeastern planted-pine industry prepare for future production challenges. Now, PINEMAP is being honored with a prestigious national award from the United States Department of Agriculture.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, or NIFA, announced that PINEMAP would receive one of three 2016 NIFA Partnership Awards presented nationwide. The award recognizes PINEMAP for its outstanding performance integrating and fulfilling the education, Extension and research missions common to all land-grant universities.

Source: UF/IFAS-Based PINEMAP Project Earns National Award From USDA – newswise

UK study backs current forestry management practices with slight changes

A 10-year logging impacts study by University of Kentucky forestry researchers rates management practices used in the state’s prolific hardwood forests effective and advises only minor changes to better protect more than 90,000 streams and rivers.

The study advises doubling the minimum distance between waterways and logging roads or skid trails. Current practice is a minimum of 25 feet, or 55 feet in steeper grounds.

The combination of thriving forest industries and access to an abundance of large and small waterways makes protecting the commonwealth’s water a priority. The UK Department of Forestry has been a partner in the development of best management practices (BMPs) in woodlands since the Kentucky legislature created the Agriculture Water Quality Authority in 1994. The authority’s mission is to alleviate pollution to surface and groundwater resources from agriculture and forestry activities.

UK forestry professors, Jeff Stringer, silviculture, and Chris Barton, forest hydrology and watershed management, oversaw more than a dozen graduate students and a number of undergraduate interns from 2004 to 2014 who examined logging impacts on forest resources in eight watersheds located in Robinson Forest, the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s research and education forest in southeastern Kentucky. Loggers harvested two watersheds using the current standard for best management practices. They logged four other watersheds using two different BMP treatments that the researchers theorized would provide more protection. Two additional watersheds were left unharvested as controls.

“At the end of the day, what we saw was that our current recommended BMPs do a pretty good job of protecting our water resources,” Barton said. “With that said, we also found that the best management practice changes we made in the other watersheds actually provided some additional protection. Our BMP treatment that provided the most protection was not statistically different than the unharvested control for nearly all of the parameters examined.”

One change resulting from the study was to increase the distance between streams and skid trails and logger roads. The process of mechanically moving trees can create erosion, which ends up in streams.

Source: UK study backs current forestry management practices with slight changes – Lane Report | Kentucky Business & Economic News

Recent study shows that invasive insects cause billions of dollars in damage each year

Invasive insects cause at least $77 billion in damage every year, according to a study released Tuesday that says this figure is “grossly underestimated” because it covers only a fraction of the globe.

Climate change is on track to boost the area affected by nearly 20 percent before mid-century, the authors reported in the journal Nature Communications.

Canvassing more than 700 recent scientific studies, researchers looked at the impact of non-native species on goods and services, healthcare and agricultural output.

Most of these studies applied to North America and Europe, which means the devastation wrought by crop-chomping and disease-carrying bugs from afar has not been adequately measured, the authors said.

The most destructive of the insects canvassed was the Formosan subterranean termite, which lives in huge colonies and feasts on wooden structures and living trees.

Source: Recent study shows that invasive insects cause billions of dollars in damage each year | Public Radio International