Biomass plant raises concerns in Kings Beach | NevadaAppeal.com
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Biomass plant raises concerns in Kings Beach

Matthew Renda
Nevada Appeal News Service

KINGS BEACH, Calif. – Kings Beach residents are restless – bordering on furious – about the possibility of a biomass facility construction project tentatively slated for a parcel in the upper-grid area.

Some residents who live near the Speckled Avenue and Bear Street intersection where a NV Energy property is proposed to house the facility are outraged that Placer County officials are considering putting the plant so close to residential homes.

Dawn Baffone, who lives about 100 feet from the parcel, said she is worried about the respiratory impact the proposed biomass facility could have on her family.

“I have two little girls and I am concerned that the emissions coming from the plant and the trucks could negatively affect their health,” she said.

Baffone further noted the parcel is just two blocks away from an elementary school and three blocks away from the local Boys & Girls Club.

“It’s just too close to residences,” she said. “Biomass plants don’t belong in people’s neighborhoods.”

Baffone’s neighbor, Ian Smith, said he was concerned about the noise.

“My biggest concern is the noise,” Smith said. “When you have five or six trucks coming by the house a day combined with the different lifting equipment, that should exceed the neighborhood noise ordinances of 45 decibels.”

Not everyone in the neighborhood was vehemently against the project, as Christine Wright said she would wait until reading the Environmental Impact Review before casting judgment.

“I’m not one of these NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) people,” she said. “If there is a possibility of putting in Cabin Creek I would favor that, but if they have to put it here I am not totally opposed to that as of right now,”

The project

Placer County, in cooperation with NV Energy, hopes to build a 1 to 3 megawatt biomass energy facility at one of two locations: either on a 1.3-acre site in Kings Beach or on a 9.6-acre site in Tahoe City near the Placer County Administrative Offices.

The Kings Beach’s site would require installing either an underground or aboveground connection to NV Energy’s Kings Beach Substation on a nearby 21.8-acre parcel. The Tahoe City location would require switching equipment and a connection to NV Energy’s distribution line on the lake side of State Route 28.

Both parcels in Kings Beach are owned by NV Energy. The Tahoe City parcel is owned by Placer County.

The Kings Beach site is located one block north of the Speckled Avenue/Deer Street intersection and about 800 feet east of California State Route 267.

The alternative site in Tahoe City is located off of Burton Creek Drive at 2501 North Lake Boulevard.

Fuel for the plant would be ground and screened at off-site locations.

The County’s perspective

The project still is in its infancy and the EIR process will address many of the concerns expressed by residents, said Brett Storey, Placer County project manager.

“It may very well be true that the parcel is too close to homes and a school,” Storey said. “We don’t know those details yet, and we won’t know until the review process is complete. However, if it is true, we won’t build the facility.”

Storey said the EIR will analyze the number of homes close to the facility, the amount of emissions from the plant and trucks, and the direction of prevailing winds.

The review is currently being conducted and is scheduled for release in early 2011, according to Storey.