Sunday, June 13, 2010

Burning wood .. bad for the enviroment?

In a flash... the two wood burning plants proposed here in western mass could go up in smoke. A six month study by Massachusetts Manoment Center for Conservation Sciences in Plymouth indicates that burning wood to generate electricity can be worse for global warming than burning coal. The short of it: The study looks only at new forest being burned and not the waste wood that biomass plants use now.

This may be trouble for the two power plants for burning wood but MAY increase the awareness of other biomass materials that are grown yearly and don't add to the problem of co2 in our air. By the way, burning hemp has less detrimental effects on our environment than wood, oil and natural gas. It releases the same amount of co2 that it took to grow it when burned.

Immediately after the report was issued, BPA, Biomass Power Association has requested an apology for the Manoment Center and the State of Mass, citing these reasons.
“Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study” examines biomass energy in the state of Massachusetts, but bases its analysis on new forest biomass instead of the waste wood most biomass plants use or propose to use. It’s a subject of grave concern for the members of the BPA who do business in 20 states, according to Bob Cleaves, president and CEO of the BPA. “The report issued by Manomet on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has generated both a lot of interest, but also a tremendous amount of confusion and misinformation about a very, very important issue for our industry and that issue is carbon impacts from utilizing biomass in the production of electricity,” he said.

In response to the study, Cleaves emphasized four major principles of the BPA and its members that guide operations: only sustainable fuels that do not contribute to land-use changes and offer much lower greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuels are used; members do not promote harvesting of forests for energy; members fully support use of wood waste and byproducts from sustainable forestry; and members support the use of nonforestry waste from the agricultural industry. The Manomet study completely ignores waste wood fuels for the first 109 pages, Cleaves said, addressing them almost as an afterthought on page 110: “All bioenergy technologies, even biomass electric power compared to natural gas electric, looks favorable when biomass waste wood is compared to fossil fuel alternatives.”


At June 14, 2010 at 2:16 PM , Blogger Derek said...

No matter how bad burning wood may be, it has got to be better than burning coal or burning oil. We have to stop being beholden to the Middle East for our energy needs, and we can’t seem to make our mines safe, so coal isn’t a much better option if you ask me. Time to look at agricultural alternatives, like hemp, to burn.

At June 14, 2010 at 2:40 PM , Blogger John said...

Just another reason we should be doing more with renewable energy. Wind, solar and hydro are the only things that are safe and ecologically sound ways to meet the growing demands for energy in the world. There is not enough wood to sustain us for the long term, we need to think ahead. The president claimed we were going to build green jobs but I don’t see that happening anywhere. I hear people with good ideas but no money to make those ideas a reality. Where is all the support for renewable, green energy and green jobs this president promised us? I know times are tough, but doing nothing is not going to make things any better any where. We need to at least start to seriously look at alternatives before it becomes a crisis. Didn’t we learn anything from this disaster in the Gulf?

At June 14, 2010 at 3:04 PM , Blogger Help said...

Interesting information but how does this impact me here in Framingham? I don’t have time to worry about the bigger picture when I am struggling with my little corner of the world. Sounds selfish, but I can’t muster a lot of concern about burning wood being bad for the environment when I can’t put food on the table and my unemployment has run out. I appreciate the effort you put in Pillsbury, but really want to know what impacts me and Framingham more than I care about the rest of the stuff.

At June 14, 2010 at 4:04 PM , Blogger Edward said...

They even lie about this stuff. How do we know for sure which of these organizations is telling the truth? Your thoughts Jim?

At June 14, 2010 at 4:50 PM , Blogger Arnold said...

Are they saying burning wood is bad for the environment? If they are, then we had better put some big bubble over CA with the forest fires they have every year.

At June 15, 2010 at 10:15 AM , Blogger Jim Pillsbury said...

We will be asked to approve or not a ballot question in November, concerning wood burning electricity plants. While not in our back yard, these facilities are part of the overall push to make the mandate of 20% of our power needs coming from renewable's by 2012.

The mis-information surrounding the burning of wood biomass for power plants could kill the plan.

Renewable energy will create jobs and help clean up our environment. The BP disaster has heightened our awareness of how bad we are addicted to oil and the devastating results of what can happen in the name of supply and demand.


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