About the Project

Camptonville Community Partnership (CCP), in collaboration with the Yuba Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council, a private landowner, and the local community, is working to develop the Forest Biomass Business Center (FBBC) at the site of a former sawmill near Camptonville, California. The FBBC will be a small industrial campus and business incubator, hosting enterprises that create value-added products from forest biomass. By creating markets for biomass and small diameter wood, which are currently underutilized, the FBBC will facilitate much-needed forest fuels reduction projects in the region.

The FBBC will feature a small-scale power generation facility, which will produce up to 5 MW of clean, renewable energy by turning wood into electricity. The plant will utilize a direct combustion boiler and steam turbine. These technologies are commercially proven, reliable, and tolerant of variations in feedstock type, size, and moisture content. The fuel for the plant will come from sustainable forest management activities aimed at reducing the threat of high intensity wildfires on nearby private and federal land. The majority of the energy will be sold to Pacific Gas and Electric under California’s new BioMAT program (established by Senate Bill 1122), which sets minimum pricing for electricity sourced from forest biomass.

Located at the Forest Biomass Business Center, the plant could also supply energy and/or heat to other co-located value-added wood processing businesses, such as a commercial firewood producer, or a wood pellet or wood shavings manufacturer. The planned location for the FBBC is on a parcel of Soper-Wheeler land, near Camptonville.

Project Goals


• Yuba Water Agency
• Yuba County Watershed Protection and Fire Safe Council
• Soper-Wheeler
• University of California Cooperative Extension
• USFS Tahoe NF & Plumas NF
• Sierra Nevada Conservancy
• National Forest Foundation
• Center for Sustainable Energy
• Sierra Institute for Community and Environment
• Statewide Wood Energy Team (SWET)
• Biomass Working Group (BWG)
• UC Davis - California Biomass Collaborative
• Camptonville Community
• Camptonville School
• Camptonville Community Services District
• Yuba County Board of Supervisors
• Yuba Sutter Economic Development Corporation
• Nevada County Biomass Task Force
• Fire Safe Council of Nevada County
• Bear Yuba Land Trust
• South Yuba River Citizens League

1. Build viable business models for using forest biomass
Successful businesses can be replicated in other rural forested communities across the state.

2. Create sustainable local employment
Hiring local ensures that benefits remain in the community. Economic activity at the FBBC will support other businesses in the area.

3. Promote a fire safe community
By turning forest biomass into market products, the FBBC will facilitate much needed fuel thinning projects on public and private lands.

4. Improve regional air quality
Using forest biomass to make energy and other products reduces the smoke and air pollution created by the current practice of burning the material in open piles.

5. Enhance forest health
Thinning crowded forests can improve wildlife habitat, promote resilience to climate change, and reduce the risk of large, destructive wildfires.

6. Produce renewable energy
Biomass power plants can help utilities like PG&E meet California's goals of 33% renewable electricity by 2020.