Family-owned and operated for more than 80 years, Rough and Ready Lumber Company in Cave Junction found a way to remain competitive, produce power, reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and maintain family wage jobs. Located in Josephine County where unemployment is one of the highest in the state, Rough and Ready provides jobs for 85 employees in a community of less than 2,000 residents.
The company installed an energy-efficient cogeneration facility that both produces electric power and captures waste heat for use in the operation’s lumber drying kilns. The renewable energy project qualified for Oregon’s Business Energy Tax Credit and Energy Trust of Oregon incentives. Without these incentives, the $5 million project cost would have been prohibitive for a company this size. The energy-efficient 1.2 MW rated wood-fired combined heat and power (CHP) system will produce more than 10 million kWh of electricity from renewable fuel sources, enough for about 700 or more homes. The system burns its sawmill waste, plus logging debris and woody materials from forest thinning operations on nearby private and public forest lands that otherwise would have been burned without the benefit of power and heat generation.
Rough and Ready’s CHP system provides public land managers with additional options for achieving forest health and economic tools that reduce the cost of thinning national forests at high risk from catastrophic wildfires. Large fires contribute significantly to CO2 and other emissions that contribute to global warming and create health risks for Oregonians. These activities also keep $100,000 in energy dollars per year in the community by employing locals to thin fire-prone forests or recover waste wood as fuel.
- Source: The Oregon Global Warming Commission's 2009 Report to the Oregon Legislature