Wood-burning power plants burn me up

Photo by Denise Vastola

Photo by Denise Vastola

USA Today published an article, “Wood making comeback as power source,” several weeks ago.  It seems in 2007, there were eight wood-burning power plants and by the end of 2009, it is projected there will be more than 300.

Wood is considered a biofuel and, as such, a renewable source of energy. Yes, I suppose it’s renewable, if you wait long enough for a forest of trees to grow again, or if you harvest responsibly.

I am convinced, however, that the power plants popping up alongside wood mills and paper mills will soon be hungry for more than waste wood chips.  These plants may begin to devour more than scrap wood and go for the tastier trees that not only add beauty to our environment, but also help clean our air.

My concern is based on our country’s history of its citizens  taking nearly everything to the extreme.  If a little is good, then more must be better.

By law, states from California to Connecticut require that at least a percentage of energy comes from biomass production, but are our elected officials able to see beyond the end of their next political term?  Do they care enough about the environment to regulate responsibly, or do they care more about winning the next election and looking good as a being a proponent of anything that sounds like its good for the environment?

For more information about wood burning power plants, visit the following:

Wood burning power plants, an OLR Research Report.

Biomass Report from the U.S. Department of Energy Administration

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