Walden, CO - In an effort to view first-hand the good work of Coloradans on renewable biomass fuels, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today toured Rocky Mountain Pellet Factory in Walden. The factory produces premium pine wood pellets from bark beetle infested trees and powers local school and government offices.
"The Rocky Mountain Pellet Factory is a perfect example of how innovation can use an abundant resource in Colorado to create clean energy and new jobs for Jackson County," Bennet said. "This shows, once again, how our state is uniquely positioned to lead the nation's push toward energy independence and put Coloradans to work in the process."
Rocky Mountain Pellet Company chose to locate in Walden to help solve the problem of over 1.5 million acres of dead lodgepole pine trees. The infestation of the Colorado Forests by the mountain pine beetle has created a fire hazard for land owners, as well as impeded the re-growth of new forests. Before touring the factory, Bennet visited a hazardous fuel mitigation project where U.S. Forest Service workers were cutting down the types of infested trees that Rocky Mountain Pellet Company turns into pellets.
The pellets created from the felled trees are a true renewable biomass fuel, with a zero carbon foot print that can reduce the country's reliance on fossil fuels and help in reducing greenhouse emissions. The pellets produce 17 units of energy for every unit consumed and can be used to "co-fire" coal fired power plants to help meet renewable energy fuel standards. Combined heat power (CHP) systems can achieve efficiencies of up to 90 percent at the commercial scale. Community-scale development of biomass energy in Colorado is helping to create permanent local jobs, improve overall energy efficiencies and promote sustainable land uses.
The 20,000-square-foot facility opened last year. Once it reaches full capacity, the factory will have the ability to produce 150,000 tons of top quality finished pellets every year and has brought economic development to a traditionally economically depressed area.