Biomass: Point and Counter Point

Posted by Trish Riley, January 12, 2010

Rob Brinkman: Sierra Club:

Biomass is the least costly form of renewable energy available to Gainesville in sufficient quantity to meet our needs.

We need this plant as a hedge against future regulations of carbon emissions. We need it to reduce particulate emissions from the open burning of biomass. This biomass plant will reduce pollution, save money, create jobs and help to provide a cleaner, safer and sustainable future.


George Wuerthner: Up in Smoke:

Currently there are plans and/or proposals for new biomass power plants in Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania, Florida, California, Idaho, Oregon and elsewhere. In every instance, these plants are being promoted as “green” technology.

Because of the air pollution and human health concerns, the Oregon Chapter of the American Lung Association, the Massachusetts Medical Society and the Florida Medical Association, have all established policies opposing large-scale biomass plants.

The reason for this medical concern is that even with the best pollution control devices, biomass energy is extremely dirty.

Besides ignoring the human health aspects of large scale biomass burning, assertions that biomass energy is “green” is a misnomer. Wood burning generates 50% more carbon dioxide than coal.

A large-scale biomass plant (50 MW) uses close to a million gallons of water a day for cooling.

Large scale wood biomass energy is neither green, nor truly economical. It is also not ecologically sustainable and jeopardizes our forest ecosystems. It is a distraction that funnels funds and attention away from other more truly worthwhile energy options, in particular, the need for a massive energy conservation program, and changes in our lifestyles that will in the end provide truly green alternatives to coal and other fossil fuels.

via George Wuerthner: Up in Smoke.

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