And the Awards Go To:

A biomass economist and the Savannah River CHP facility win bioenergy awards
By Luke Geiver | April 25, 2012

Add the Excellence in Bioenergy Award to the list of accomplishments in 2011-2012 for William Strauss, president of FutureMetrics, a biomass energy consulting and econometrics firm.
For the first time, the International Biomass Conference & Expo included the presentation of industry specific awards, honoring the dynamic policy leaders, members of academia, project developers or organizations that have helped biomass energy establish a presence throughout the country.

Strauss, chosen by a number of industry peers, received the award based on his role in debunking the inaccurate statements presented in a controversial study completed in 2011 by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. The study found that in some cases, woody biomass used for electrical generation emits more greenhouse gases per unit of energy than coal does because of its debt-than-dividend model. But Strauss provided a comprehensive, accurate view of those assertions and showed the positive benefits of woody biomass.

But that isn’t Strauss’ only accomplishment. He also played a key role in ensuring Maine and New Hampshire include wood pellet pricing for home heating fuel in weekly energy reports. And Strauss and his team at Maine Energy Systems contributed to the success of a wood pellet boiler installation program in New Hampshire. Several boilers have been installed and more are in the works. And, on top of all of that, Strauss has helped develop a risk assessment and hedging tool for project developers and current biomass facility operators, identifying the role woody biomass prices play in operation, and how to hedge against price risk.

The Groundbreaker of the Year Award, bestowed on a company or organization that has made meaningful headway on a biomass-to-energy project, went to Ameresco Inc. After two and a half years of development, the company held its ribbon-cutting ceremony in 2011, opening the Savannah River Site Biomass Cogeneration Facility in Aiken, S.C. The 20 MW combined-heat-and-power facility created roughly 800 jobs during construction. The project had a number of partners, including the U.S. DOE and the state of South Carolina.

“Together with the DOE, we’ve built an award-winning, large-scale, sustainable power resource,” says George Sakellaris, president and CEO of Ameresco.

—Luke Geiver