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New PG&E Program Turns Dead Trees Into Energy

Bob Moffit / Capital Public Radio

An excavator operator splits large logs with an attachment called a "wood screw" in Newcastle.

Bob Moffit / Capital Public Radio

For years, property owners in the Sierra foothills were required to get rid of their own dead trees, even if PG&E cut them down. But PG&E now has a temporary program that could remove some of the trees and turn them into energy.

Kelly O'Flynn, program manager for PG&E's wood management program, said customers can ask for help disposing of the trees by calling the utility.

"Once PG&E contractors cut the trees down to protect the powerlines, the customer reaches out to us to enter into our wood-management program," O'Flynn said. "They schedule a time with the customer and they go on out and pick up the trees off the ground and haul them on down here."

O'Flynn said the program is temporary. Interested homeowners can call 1-800-743-5000 to see if they qualify for the program.

Logs must be at least four inches in diameter, six feet long, be within 50 feet of a building, or be a threat to roll into a waterway.

The logs in the foothills east of Sacramento are taken to a co-generation facility in Rocklin to be burned and turned into energy. There are four cogeneration facilities between Newcastle and Fresno.

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