The Wood Products Foundation has been informed of significant issues with the Louisiana Pilot Renewable Portfolio Standard and has directed its Chairman, Travis Taylor to release the following information.
The purpose of this letter is to advise the Foundation’s members and wood industry producers and all other timber industry- related business in Louisiana that the Louisiana Public Service Commission, by allowing out-of-state renewable resources to qualify without restriction, has effectively killed the prospect of any new startup woody biomass projects in Louisiana being included in the final selection of the Commission’s alternate energy pilot program.
Additionally, we request support to amend the LA RPS to assure the appropriate measures are taken to support Louisiana and the woody biomass industry.
The Foundation believes the spirit of the LA RPS desire to develop the renewable generation of Louisiana has NOT been upheld. This is especially difficult to understand given the fact that Louisiana ratepayers are supporting a program that is going primarily to resources in west Texas and other states.
In addition, Entergy’s evaluation of the proposals to support the LA RPS requirements did not support the original stated intent of the LA RPS.
The original intent was to establish the cost of producing new “stand alone” alternative energy from Louisiana based products such as woody biomass, rice, sugar cane waste, thermal, landfill gas from creditable developments with a sole focus on utility scale power generation.
Each of these types of projects would determine if any of the alternative materials would be feasible to use in a larger way in the future.
Allowing existing facilities that produce power and steam and have cost structures that are not market based would not establish the true cost because those operations already have much of the infrastructure in place and cannot be replicated or supported long term.
Woody biomass is a renewable generation resources that can significantly and sustainably benefit Louisiana and provide a much-needed economic stimulus to the forestry industry.
The proposed biomass generation plant in Olla would create approximately 300 new jobs within the region. Capital expenditures will exceed $200M and annual expenditures for woody biomass fuel purchases from regional forestry businesses will exceed $10M annually.
Wood Products Development Foundation has been promoting the use of wood and wood waste as a means of producing electricity for the past six years.
The Foundation has led the fight to establish a program that would require Entergy and other electric providers in Louisiana to use a certain amount of woody biomass produced electricity in its power operation.
The timber industry is in an economic free fall. Mills are closing daily. The use of wood and wood waste as fuel instead of coal would give Louisiana timber producers a much-needed additional revenue source for timber products. The economic survival of the industry depends on developing new and additional uses of wood.
The use of wood to make electricity is not only commercially viable when compared on a reasonable basis to other renewable generation resources, but is already established as an alternative to coal and other fuel sources.
There are plants using woody bio mass currently operating in all areas of the country. Louisiana has no commercial wood-to-electricity plants because the Public Service Commission has refused to act on this in the past.
The pilot project was our only chance to demonstrate the effectiveness and economic impact of wood to electricity and the actions taken by the Public Service Commission to allow out of state wind and current small producers into the mix has once again thwarted our efforts.
We appreciate the continued support of Commissioner Mike Strain, State Senator Neil Riser, Representative Billy Chandler, and Representative Jim Fannin. We also thank and acknowledge Public Service Commissioner Clyde Holloway who was the lone vote on the Commission opposing out-of-state wind interests in the matter.
Please join us in the effort to have the LA RPS amended to assure that suitable woody biomass power generation receives a fair consideration in any renewable power program within the State of Louisiana.
Baton Rouge, La.