Biomass plants to burn quake debris

Kyodo

The Forestry Agency will provide financial support for the construction of four biomass power plants to burn wood debris from the March 11 disasters, officials said.

The plants to be built in Iwate and Miyagi prefectures are expected to burn a total of 200,000 tons of debris a year, generating 16,000 kw and covering the consumption needs of 30,000 households.

Their operation to accelerate the disposal of debris while promoting renewable energy is expected to start by March 2014, the officials said Tuesday.

The agency has already earmarked ¥9.5 billion in the third supplementary budget for fiscal 2011 to cover as much as 50 percent of the costs for biomass power plant construction by lumber and other companies.

The four plants — three 5,000-kw facilities in Miyako, Iwate Prefecture, and Kesennuma and Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture, and one 1,000-kw facility in Tagajo, Miyagi Prefecture — will be built near lumber or paper mills. Once the debris from the disasters is used up, the plants will use wood waste from the mills for power generation.

The Environment Ministry has estimated that wood accounts for 70 percent of the 22.49 million tons of rubble and debris from the disasters in Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.