On one hand, we do applaud research and development into alternative energies.   Hey,  it can't hurt.  But on the other hand, should the state be handing out millions of dollars when it can't balance it's budget?

Gov. Inslee, on the latest stop of his climate change tour,  stopped by the Pacific Northwest Center for Excellence for Clean Energy at Centralia Community College, and announced the latest in a series of grants designed to pursue his green energy policy.

$20,000 will be doled out for a research project to determine if heating oil and charcoal can be made from forest waste.  So what does that have to do with creating a useable, burnable source? According to Inslee's press office:

"Woody biomass is the waste resulting from forest health treatments, fire hazard prevention, commercial thinning and harvest activity. The grant from the state Department of Commerce will be used by Onalaska Wood Energy for a feasibility study.

Onalaska Wood Energy seeks to be the first commercial-scale effort of its kind in Washington. The charcoal has domestic and overseas markets in the form of briquettes, and agricultural soil amendment and activated carbon in the form of biochar. The biocrude can be used to replace traditional heating oil or be supplied to a petroleum refinery for co-processing in to a variety of fuels."

While it may sound good on the drawing board, there are a number of questions to be answered.  Can it be done?  Can it be done in a manner that will be cost-effective?  Is there a market for it?  Can it match or exceed existing fuel sources?

One of the $50,000 grants awarded is for this confusing project:

Port of Port Townsend ($50,000): Demonstrated use of waste carbon biochar from Port Townsend Paper mill to filter metals from stormwater at the Boat Haven Marine Industrial Park.

So, 50 grand was given to a project to create "green" filters to clean basically rainwater at an industrial park?   Sounds like an expensive Brita filter to us.

Their line of thinking is by not using a petroleum product, these fossil waste "briquets" and oil would be ok to burn...no pollution.

Some $1.4 million has been granted by the state for such projects.    And again,  the state cannot balance it's budget.

Priorities, we guess, of Inslee wanting to be the "greenest governor" in history.   Wonder when the "economic development and tax reduction tour" is going to kick off?

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