Washington provides renewable designation after nearly 29 years of clean operations
You probably don’t hear a lot about Avista’s Kettle Falls biomass plant. You also don’t see much about it or smell much of it either. You see, Kettle Falls pretty much keeps to itself, steadily cranking out electricity. But recently the plant was given a distinction that many people assumed all along – Kettle Falls and its biomass operation will be recognized as renewable by the state of Washington.
Earlier this month Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed SB5575 into law. The bill qualifies legacy biomass energy projects (built before 1999) as eligible renewable resources for purposes of meeting Washington state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). As a result of the bill’s passage, the energy generated at Kettle Falls will qualify to meet our renewable requirements in Washington beginning in 2016.
This passage of the bill is good news for our communities, particularly those in and around Kettle Falls. It will promote employment and preserve jobs at a time when rural economies are suffering. Avista employees at Kettle Falls are members of and contribute to their local communities, and Kettle Falls provides work to local sawmills, fuel delivery businesses, transportation companies and forest workers.
Kettle Falls and biomass: How’s it work?
Wood waste – called “hog fuel” – is fed into a seven-story furnace/boiler and burned, creating heat. The walls of the furnace/boiler consist of pipes filled with water that are heated by the burning hog fuel. The optimal burning temperature is 2,000 degrees, resulting in a steam temperature of 950 degrees. The heated water generates stream and pressure that drives a turbine, which turns a generator, creating electricity.
So, while you might not hear, see or smell a lot about Kettle Falls, now you know it’s cranking out renewable energy.