Warnings will alert drivers to wildlife | VailDaily.com

Warnings will alert drivers to wildlife

Allen Best

PINEDALE, Wyo. About the only sure thing to slow down drivers in areas of deer, elk and other wildlife is a dead animal on the road. Signs don’t do it, and neither do blinking lights.But a new system being deployed near Pinedale, located 77 miles south of Jackson, may be at the cutting edge. There, motion and presence sensors have been installed. When deer and pronghorn antelope are moving through the area, they trigger the sensors, causing lights to flash to alert approaching motorists. The six flashing signs say “Deer on Road When Flashing.”Truckee readies biomass projectTRUCKEE, Calif. – In Truckee, meanwhile, biomass has turned from talk to … well, burn. It’s a small project, but a partnership of the California Energy Commission, the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District, and the U.S. Forest Service is expected to soon start producing electricity.The demonstration project is only one of six of its kind in the United States. However, it is part of the Truckee Donner Public Utility District’s ongoing efforts to increase the use of green technologies.The 15-kilowatt plant works by heating wood chips from dead and decaying trees to an excess of 4,000 degrees, creating a gas that is then used to power a generator that heats the Park and Recreation office and melts snow on the walkway between the offices and the plant building, explains the Sierra Sun. Almost no pollution is created in the transformation. Unlike typical biomass-conversion plants, this one is projected to operate five days a week, eight hours a day. If it operated at maximum capacity, it could continuously heat three average-sized homes.One purpose of the plant is to see whether the biomass can be expanded. By one estimate, a larger plant could serve 5 percent to 10 percent of Truckee’s electrical needs.While various mountain towns and valleys are talking about biomass, Truckee is one of the first to take the plunge. One of the few others to take the plunge was Nederland, a small town in the foothills of Colorado west of Boulder. There, however, the biomass plant has had so many problems town officials are ready to shut it down altogether. Vail, Colorado

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