Newspaper Archive of
Hells Canyon Journal
Halfway, Oregon
June 6, 2001     Hells Canyon Journal
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June 6, 2001

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$ Y Per Copy r 9 t 9 1 1 t 1 L ) 1 L 1 Power Plant in by Steve Backstrom Pine Valley is one of three possible sites under study for a possible biomass power gen- eration facility in Baker County. The idea of a wood-chip- fired generator was discussed Monday evening at the United Community Partners meeting at Halfway City Hall. Tony Sowers and Marvin Burgraff, who both serve as representatives of the local area on the Baker County Power Generation Task Force, presented information and answered questions about the hypothetical project. The concept unites the ideas of reducing the risk of wildfire (and the need for pre- scribed burns) on national for- est land while creating jobs and electricity. "The Forest Service has a long-term supply of little trees, which slow forest growth and create a fire haz- ard," Sowers said. "We can take a chipper up into the forest, take the junk wood and chip it and burn it and generate power." Preliminary plans envision a five-megawatt steam tur- bine-driven generator, pow- ered by burning wood chips, possibly at the site of the old Ellingson mill near Highway 86 at the west entrance to Pine Valley. An alternate site on the east side of the valley was also discussed at the meeting. At least 10 acres would be needed for such a facility. "Water requirements are quite minimal," added Sow- ers. "Five gallons per minute per megawatt would be needed." If implemented, the plan could create about ten year- round jobs in Pine Valley, plus 20 or so seasonal jobs. Chipping would be done in the forest, with the chips Pine Valley? hauled to the site for burn- ing. A large storage facility would be necessary to keep the supply of chips available through the winter months. Two other locations m Baker County are being studied for similar generating facilities - one near Baker City and one in the Unity area. The Baker City generator would also be in the five-megawatt range, while a generator in Unity could be up to ten mega- watts, due to its proximity to both the Wallowa-Whitman and Malheur national forests. Sowers stated that Idaho Power Company has been contacted, and their power lines in Pine Valley could eas- ily accommodate up to nine megawatts. However, Idaho Power Company would not be the likely purchaser of any power generated by the project. "Whoever does this can sell the power to whomever they want," said Sowers, indicat- ing that utilities at a great distance from the local area with its relatively cheap hy- dropower would be the most likely customers. In response to a question from Bill Nagy about how much the power could be sold for, Sowers responded, "The price of power is hugely vari- able and unpredictable. Out idea is based on the need for more power in the West, and here's a way to generate some. Nobody will commit to what they will pay for power two years from now." It is expected that Baker County will issue a Request for Proposals to a number of firms that might have an in- terest in this and other gen- eration ideas in Baker County. The Task Force is actively considering projects using gas, biomass, coal, and hydropower. Atmospheric conditions in Baker County are not believed to be condu- cive to wind power genera- tion. Thirty-one Graduate from Pine Thirty-one graduat- ing seniors received their diplomas and were released into the "real world" last Saturday, June 2 at Pine Eagle High School's Com- mencement. Pine Eagle High School teacher and football coach Blake Dennis was the featured speaker for the event. Valedictorian Heidi Young and Salutatorian Alison Schmitt also de- livered remarks, and class president Mike Koger presented a mul- timedia look the graduating class. Principal Tom Crane handed out the many honors and awards ac- cumulated by this year's graduates, including the following: Chass Anderson - International Air Acad- emy Alumni Scholar- ship, Career Training Foundation's Imagine America Scholarship; Josh Endersby - Stewart Sullivan Memo- rial Scholarship, Out- standing Academic Im- provement Award; Travis Hampton - Oregon Scholar Award, Stewart Sullivan Memo- rial Scholarship, Ford Scholarship, PESD Em- ployees' Scholarship, Half.corn Innovation Scholarship, Ken Johnson Memorial Scholarship, Steve's Hometown Motors Scholarship awarded to a senior in the Ag program and FFA; bii]ke Koger - Knights of Columbus Scholarship, PESD Employees' Scholar- ship; Kelli Morwood - Athlete of the Year, Mid-Columbia Bus Company Scholarship; Alison Schzaitt - Oregon Scholar Award, Stewart Sullivan Memorial Schol- arship, PESD Employees' Scholarship, Half.corn Innovation Scholarship; Joby Seim-rino - Athlete of the Year, Stewart Sullivan Memorial Scholarship; Photo by Steve Backetrom GRADUATING SENIORS Steve Waldron and Jade Peer march into the Commencement exercises held Saturday, June 2 at Pine Eagle High School. EliJmbeth Shields- Molly O. Freeman Scholarship; Dean vammn - PESD Employees' Scholarship, Half.corn Innovation Schol- arship; Zeke VmaHoomer - Stewart Sullivan Memorial Scholarship, Half.corn Innova- tion Scholarship; Bobbt Jo Weir - Lions Scholarship, Baker County Home Advisory Committee Scholarship, Oregon State University Ex- tension Service Scholarship, Prudential Spirit of Community Award; Mitzi Williaw - Pine Valley Presbyte- rian Church Scholar'ship; Continued on page 10