Thanks to a loan from Indian Land Capital Company (ILCC), the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians in Northern California has made a large investment in a bioenergy plant that is currently under construction near Kelseyville, about 120 miles north of San Francisco. The Red Hills Bioenergy Project will use burned timber from California wildfires to produce electricity and organic byproducts, which will then be sold to generate valuable revenue for the tribe. ILCC provided $2 million in financing for the project.
The plant, which produces no emissions or odors, is being constructed on 36 acres of tribally-owned land. It features a clean energy system that converts chipped wood and other biomass into synthesized gas to produce carbon-neutral electrical power and biochar, a byproduct of burned wood that sequesters carbon. By employing a process known as pyrolysis – the thermal decomposition of the volatile components in an organic substance – the plant will cost-effectively convert waste into green energy. The ‘syngas’ will also power the generators that run the system.
“Tribes like Scotts Valley have difficulty accessing capital because they are perceived as lacking the resources to service the debt,” said Rjay Brunkow, ILCC president. “But if you really take a look at their financial situation you’ll find that they are easily able to service the debt, and are worthy of even more credit than what they have used to date. Thanks to our partnership with Associated Bank the Tribe was able to move forward on a great project.”