The following is information we posted earlier about our attempt to acquire land from the County. The outcome of that effort is documented here.

Mariposa Biomass Project Land Acquisition Facts
The Mariposa Biomass Project (MBP) is working to establish a biomass plant on land adjacent to the County Solids Waste Facility or landfill.  The goals are to derive economic value from excess vegetation in the County, especially in light of our current Tree Mortality Disaster, create jobs and to diversify our economy. 
On July 19th the MBP will request that the County agree to provide the MBP with an option to buy (via a public offering) 7.6 acres from the County.  The land in question was recently acquired by the County to comply with a State requirement for test wells. That land is not part of the landfill operations or the landfill permit, and the MBP will specify that our facility will not interfere with the landfill operations or test wells. Below are some facts that we think are important in understanding the proposed land acquisition.

  1. The project makes financial sense and our pro-forma profit and loss statement suggests that we should pay back our private investors in 5 to 7 years.
  2. There are no County funds involved and no risk to the County.  With the authorization to purchase land, the County is not committing to or authorizing a biomass plant.  Any such plant will have to comply with all Federal, State and County regulations including County permits and CEQA review before it can be built.  All permitting fees and County Staff time will be paid by MBP using the Wood Innovation Grant that we recently received from the U.S. Forest Service after a national competition.  That grant also helps supports the staff at our local Resource Conservation District office which serves as our grant administrator.
  3. More than $3 million in electrical revenue will allow MBP to pay a good price for dead trees and other vegetation removed from private properties and public infrastructure. The sizing of our plant however, is based on long-term sustainable operation, and is not dependent on the dead trees from our current tree mortality disaster. Prior State legislation, S.B. 1122, and the emphasis on use of forest biomass from high hazard zones in the Governor’s Tree Mortality Disaster Proclamation will provide favorable electricity rates over the next 20 years.
  4. The MBP will offer to buy (via the public offering) 7.6 acres near the landfill from the County at a price higher than the County paid for it in 2014. 
  5. The MBP facility will not disturb landfill or test well operations and can actually work symbiotically with landfill operations.  The 7.6 acres is currently unused and there is no anticipated use for it, other than for the test wells.
  6. MBP has proposed other financial incentives roughly $100,000 a year to the County that can help with the cost of ongoing landfill operations.
  7. This project will provide jobs for people to operate the facility, clear brush, cut down trees, and haul the resultant biomass to the facility.
  8. The project will allow tree and brush services to operate all year long, even when burning is banned, by providing a place to take the biomass.
  9. Our plant will use a new technology that meets clean air standards and eliminates much of the air pollution associated with open pile burning.
  10. The facility will provide the potential for future growth of the adjacent industrial park by providing low cost thermal energy.
  11. Biomass-based electricity is one of the only sources of renewable baseload electricity (geothermal is the other), electricity that is available 24/7/365 unlike wind and solar that are intermittent. Baseload electricity sources are needed when the sun does not shine and the wind does not blow, and to make up the differences between demand and intermittent sources.  Current baseload sources in California are largely nuclear and natural gas-based power plants.  California is moving to achieve at least 50% renewable energy by 2030 and since they are shutting down the last nuclear plant and natural gas is not renewable, biomass-based electricity will be increasingly important in the years to come to at least partially replace those baseload sources. The strategy should be to place biomass plants where there is a readily available local fuel source that has no other use, and where the biomass does not need to be shipped long distances. That is exactly what we are trying to do.