Jason Barton

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Archive for the ‘Montana’ tag

County pitches biomass energy projects

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Mar 3 – McClatchy-Tribune Regional News – John Harrington Independent Record, Helena, Mont.

Lewis and Clark County officials are seeking $800,000 in federal money they say would support a trio of pilot biofuel projects in the area aimed at turning beetle-killed trees into energy.

In appropriations requests to all three members of Montana’s congressional delegation, the county said the Tri-County Biomass Energy Pilot Project would employ 20 people and explore three projects to find a technology that best meets local needs.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

March 4th, 2010 at 4:04 am

New power lines’ effect on Montanans hard to predict

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Billings Gazette, Montana

Feb 2

Mike Dennison

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As huge power line projects in Montana are pitched as the catalyst for a new wave of wind power development here, Public Service Commissioner Brad Molnar, R-Laurel, is asking whether the lines might end up harming Montana electricity consumers.

Molnar has been traveling the state and writing newspaper columns, arguing that the lines could lead to higher rates for Montanans. If they interconnect with existing power lines, power generator PPL Montana could more easily sell its cheap coal-fired and hydro electricity to California, Nevada or other high-priced markets, he says.

That could force NorthWestern Energy, which gets one-third of its power for its 330,000 customers from PPL, to pay a much higher price to replace that power when PPL contracts expire in 2014, Molnar argues.

“I’m concerned about one thing and one thing only: Open access to much larger markets will hurt the Montana ratepayer,” Molnar said.

Read the original article here.

Written by Jason

February 6th, 2010 at 3:35 pm

Stoltze sees opportunity for biomass power plant in Montana

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Daily Inter Lake

Northwest Montana’s News Source

Stoltze sees opportunity for biomass power plant

By JIM MANN/Daily Inter Lake | 0 comments

The closure of the Smurfit-Stone container mill in Frenchtown has amplified the need and potential for a co-generation plant fueled by biomass in the Flathead Valley.

That was the message from a panel of speakers at Flathead Valley Community College on Thursday night. It was the fourth in a series of seven programs in the Re-Powering the Flathead Community Dialogue Series.

“We definitely have the excess [biomass] now without Smurfit,” said Chuck Roady, vice president of Stoltze Land and Lumber, a company that has been aggressively exploring the potential for a co-generation plant at its sawmill complex west of Columbia Falls.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

January 25th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Water central to new energy mix

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It’s been said many times that the next wave of wars will be fought over water. Hopefully we can conduct ourselves, and our economies, in ways that do not force us to confront this possibility.  While living in Brazil and beginning to do research about pursuing a PhD in resource economics, my initial interest was in water. Then some time on farms in Cuba, Nicaragua, and especially Brazil turned my interest to agriculture and another of life’s necessities. When I was pitching my research ideas to a venerable professor in agricultural science at the University of British Columbia he told me that if these were my areas of interest I should consider investigating energy. I was initially confused, then thought maybe at his advanced age he was a bit touched, but now I’m seeing the innumerable, intricate connections between these issues.

By DUSTIN BLEIZEFFER Casper Star-Tribune

Saturday, December 19, 2009 11:55 pm

CASPER — Expect the issue of water conservation to gain more interest in discussions of energy development — be it green, black or somewhere between.

The arid West is likely become more arid with climate change, according to the world’s top scientists, and no longer will residents and municipalities yawn at the prospect of drilling a new well to cool a coal power plant or solar power facility.

And credit Exxon Mobil for bringing a new level of national attention to the practice of hydraulic fracturing, with its $31 billion bid for XTO Energy this past week.

Hydraulic fracturing is the practice of pumping sand and fluids — often diesel fuel — into natural-gas-bearing rock, creating fractures in the rock that allow the natural gas to flow to the production well.

XTO Energy holds 280,000 acres in the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania. Residents and environmental groups concerned about maintaining groundwater quality expect that Exxon Mobil, with its deeper pockets, will perforate and “frack” on a scale unseen even in Wyoming’s Jonah and Pinedale Anticline.

Read the entire article here.

Written by Jason

December 20th, 2009 at 8:28 am