MISSAUKEE CO. — Viking Energy hosted a tour of their facility for the second annual National Biomass Energy Day.
Biomass energy uses wood to produce electricity. Viking Energy wanted to showcase how this process works to the public and so they can see what the benefits of this type of energy is.
“We are not new and sexy like the technology of wind and solar, but we are a local source,” Gary Melow, Michigan Biomass Director, said. “We are important to local economy, to forest resources, and we are important to the state’s energy portfolio.”
“We run 24 hours, seven days in a week,” Thomas Vine, Viking Energy plant manager, said. “You don’t rely on the sun shining or the wind blowing. We run when the power’s needed. So, we can be run when we’re needed all the time.”
“We help in the habitats management, help the forest management, and we put local people to work in Michigan,” Melow said.
The bio energy industry is responsible for over 700 full-time jobs in Michigan. According to Melow, for every one job in the power plant, there are two and a half jobs in the field, procuring and transporting fuel.
There is also an effect on the forest industry and, in turn, Michigan’s economy.
“It helps the rest of the forest industry by creating an outlet for the waste material where the loggers can make a profit on,” Vine said. “It actually reduces the cost of producing lumber and paper in the state of Michigan. It makes the whole process more efficient.”
Those who stopped by to take a tour learned a lot.
“To be honest, I hadn’t been to a place like this before,” Stephen Walker, a Midland resident, said. “I really enjoyed just learning about the industry. It was very informative.”
Viking Energy has a contract with Consumer’s Energy.
There are six other bio energy plants in Michigan.
View the video news story at UpNorthLive.