Tag Archives: logging

WSJ on Economic Problems of Biomass Plants

Jim Carlton points out in the Wall Street Journal some of the problems of biomass plants.
With all the plants and trees in the world, biomass energy would appear to have boundless potential.
Or as Georgia politicians are fond of saying, “Georgia is the Saudi Arabia of forest energy.”
Yet in the U.S., biomass power—generated mainly by burning wood and other plant debris—has run into roadblocks that have stymied its growth.

Here at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center, officials in 2007 built a $7.7 million biomass plant to meet all the power needs of the medium-security prison. But last month, two years after the plant opened, prison officials closed it, citing excessive costs.

“This was a project that was well intentioned, but not well implemented,” says Jeff Mohlenkamp, deputy director of support services for the Nevada Department of Corrections.

Even with a captive market (pun intended), biomass was not economically feasible.

Maybe it was an isolated case? Continue reading

Effects of proposed biomass plants in Massachusetts

Very interesting projection of Massachusetts Forest Impacts if Proposed Biomass Incinerators Are Allowed by Chris Matera, P.E., and Ellen Moyer, Ph.D, P.E., with GIS analysis and programming by Gordon Green:

The animations add the demand for wood for 5 proposed biomass incinerators in Massachusetts to the current wood demand, which is mainly for lumber and cord wood. The animations demonstrate the land area in western and central Massachusetts that would be required to be logged to satisfy the total demand for these 5 plants which would add only about 1 percent to Massachusetts’ electrical generating capacity (see calculations below).

Quite a price for such a small percentage of electricity generation. Solar, wind, and wave could generate far more electricity, even in far northern Massachusetts.

And the animation above is a conservative projection. Follow the link for

…the extreme case where all forested land in central and western Massachusetts would be made available for biomass cutting – including rare species habitat, scenic landscapes, public “protected” land, and other protected open space. In this case, all forested land in central and western Massachusetts would be logged in only 16 years.

In Georgia, that would include places like Reed Bingham State Park.


South Losing Trees

Doyle Rice writes in USA Today about U.S. losing trees faster than other heavily forested nations:
Out of seven of the most heavily forested nations on Earth, the United States experienced a greater percentage of forest loss from 2000 to 2005 than did any of the other countries, a study said Monday.
But what part of the U.S.?
The one part of the contiguous USA that experienced the most forest loss was the Southeast, a large chunk of which lost more than 10% of its forest cover from 2000 to 2005, the year for which the most recent data were available.
Compared to what? Continue reading