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
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.
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.
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.