Xcel Taps Biomass Of Dead Forests

Posted: Friday, May 24, 2013 4:00 am By MATT HILDNER | mhildner@yahoo.com Xcel Energy hopes to put some of the state’s beetle-infested forests to use through the generation of electricity. The company, which provides electricity to much of the Front Range and parts of the San Luis Valley, will seek proposals for a two-megawatt demonstration project that creates power through the gasification of forest biomass. “Xcel Energy would gain valuable experience concerning the potential use of biomass for future electricity generation and we would be able to determine whether this type of technology is a reasonable and promising way to address the the health of our Colorado forests,” said David Eves, CEO of Xcel’s Public Service Co. of Colorado. Gabriel Romero, a spokesman for Xcel, said the facility would likely be located near company infrastructure such as transmission lines and substations. The company has transmission lines running through much of the northern half of the state, which has millions of acres of pine forests that have succumbed to the mountain pine beetle. The eastern San Juan Mountains also have hundreds of thousands of acres of forest infested by the spruce beetle, but Xcel’s transmission system is less widespread in that corner of the state. In filings with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, the company said it would only seek a 10-year contract for power from the plant. The company also would require full access to information about the plant’s performance. Xcel hopes to evaluate the technology, including its performance at high altitude and in diverse weather conditions. Taylor Scott International

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