BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Wednesday marks the fourth annual Bioenergy Day. This day was made possible by the county of Kern and the city of Bakersfield, declaring the day as a way to recognize renewable energy producers across the nation and educate the public about biomass as an energy source.
In light of the day, Mt. Ponos Cogeneration Company and its partners, DTE Energy Services and Macpherson Energy Corporation decided to host a walking tour of its woody biomass facility. During this walk around, people had the opportunity to learn how wood is converted to energy. With the help of wood transported from miles agricultural and landfill spaces, it is chopped into tiny pieces, put on a conveyor belt and brought to combustion where it turns into energy.
The plant opened in 1989 where at the time, they burned coal, and tires. They decided to make the switch to woody biomass almost five years ago. They say this change creates less emissions and eases space in landfills.
"When you see a orchard being knocked down for replanting we will take that wood chip it, grind it, and screen it and bring it to process through the boiler and the combustion process to generate electricity. We also take landfill diversion wood from Kern County and Los Angeles county," said Stu Welch.
Mt. Ponos employs 38 Kern County residents, and supplies hundreds of local jobs throughout the year. It delivers 44 megawatts of renewable energy to the grid, powering over 40,000 homes.