Rausch has been the business editor since September 2008, previously serving as senior business reporter. He joined the Chronicle in April 2007. He has written for newspapers in Napoleon, Ohio, Moline, Ill., and Lima, Ohio. He holds a bachelor of science in journalism from Ohio University (1992). In 2006, he received a second place award in business writing from the Association Press in Ohio.
Posted April 16, 2014 06:57 pm - Updated April 17, 2014 09:03 am

Company uses storm debris to make power

It is a little ironic that some of the trees from the ice storm that knocked out power are now being used to make some.


Ameresco Inc. has a “biomass cogeneration” facility at Savannah River Site. That’s code for “we burn wood chips and shredded tires to make electricity.” It fits in the realm of environmentally friendly energy because the trees and tires are waste kept out of landfills.


The Massachussetts-based company began receiving downed trees from the February ice storm in early March. Since the storm nearly 21,000 tons of storm-related fuel wood has been purchased for the biomass plant.


Yes, purchased.


The company says the storm wood represents 55 percent of its wood purchase for March. Ameresco’s storm wood is coming from from Aiken, Allendale, Burke and Barnwell counties.


“We have been working with local partners to utilize the storm damaged wood because it is a valuable, clean and usable resource and renewable fuel for our biomass cogeneration facility and it’s the right thing to do,” said Nicole Bulgarino, Vice President of Federal Solutions for Ameresco. Ameresco estimates that it will convert over 30,000 tons of storm-damaged wood into power at SRS this year.


ECONOMIC INDEX DECLINES: In February, the Georgia Regents University’s leading economic index decreased 1 percent from January.


The Dow Jones Industrial Average and job openings both increased, but housing permits and initial claims for unemployment insurance both went in the wrong direction.


Local economists at the Hull College of Business note that the index has declined for two consecutive months for the first time since April and May 2012.



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