Monday, July 22, 2013

Wood Cut To Prevent Wildfires Could Make Electricity

The Center is promoting utility scale biomass power plants as an employment program and as a wildfire mitigation program.  The Center Wildfire Mitigation Program (WMP) is designed to prevent and reduce wildfires.

Utility scale biomass power plants have been proposed in different parts of the country as partial solutions to preventing wildfires.  Pre-cut trees and brush in wildfire areas could not only prevent wildfires, but could provide fuel for electricity generation.  America’s forest owners, farmers and ranchers can play a crucial role in providing renewable energy from wood, switchgrass and other agricultural products. The push for biomass power as a way to thin dead forests near mountain communities is drawing more interest of the intense wildfire season this year.

In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delayed for three years carbon dioxide emissions permits for biomass boilers that convert wood and other plant material into energy. These deferred greenhouse gas permitting requirements for biomass are believed to be helpful to construction of these plants by reducing costs.

Markets for woody biomass in particular can be especially important in allowing the
U.S. Forest Service and other landowners to reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire while restoring more natural conditions in our forests.

Critics of using forest products for power worry that it will become an excuse to push more roads into the national forest, overly log certain areas and ultimately create a market that still emits greenhouse gases.

In many cases, energy produced from biomass will provide significant reductions of greenhouse gases relative to fossil fuels. We intend to work with USDA and EPA in ensuring that policies use the best science and spur innovation and job creation in the renewable energy sector.  (The Colorado Independent, 1/12/2011)

No comments: