From Robert Whitcomb's "Digital Diary,'' in GoLocal24.com
'New England has lots of woodland and so we’re tempted to see biomass as a good source of “renewable energy.’’ The theory goes that, yes, burning wood, notably in the form of wood pellets, releases carbon dioxide but growing trees absorbs it and so the whole process can be seen as “carbon neutral’’.
But a report from an outfit called Not Carbon Neutral says that CO2 emissions far exceed the absorbing capacity of the living trees planted or maintained as future fuel sources. The report’s author, Mary Booth, told ecoRI News journalist Tim Faulkner:
“This analysis shows that power plants burning residues-derived chips and wood pellets are a net source of carbon pollution in the coming decades just when it is most urgent to reduce emissions.’’ She included in her calculations the fossil-fuel emissions from the shipping and manufacturing of wood fuels.
Southern New England gets some electricity from burning wood in northern New England.
The report reminds me of the wood-burning mania in New England during the energy crises of the ‘70s. It was handy to have all that wood available for heating in New England to offset a little the swelling price of heating oil, but the wood stoves caused serious air pollution in many parts of our region, including in rural areas once noted for their clean air.
So wind, solar and hydro are the way to go in New England’s energy future.
To read Mr. Faulkner’s article, please hit this link: