Biomass generates hearings, forums

Biomass generates hearings, forums

There are 57 comments on the Bennington Banner story from Nov 16, 2010, titled Biomass generates hearings, forums. In it, Bennington Banner reports that:

A number of hearings and other events centered around the Beaver Wood biomass proposals in Pownal and Fair Haven are scheduled in the next few days.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Bennington Banner.

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GrnMtnBoy

Roy, WA

#46 Nov 19, 2010
What is the source of this information? I'd like to go to the website.

Thomas Emero and William Bousquet had been involved with previous incarnations of Beaver Wood — Alternate Energy Inc. and GenPower Services LLC — racking up $130,000 for air violations for its biomass plant in Chester, Maine, she said. Records received thorugh public information requests in Maine, she continued, found the biomass plant in Ashland, Maine, between 1998 and 2000 had 44 violations for exceeding the limits of carbon monoxide emssions, 126 violations for air opacity, 79 incidents of carbon-emission violations and two nitrous oxides violations.
GrnMtnBoy

Roy, WA

#47 Nov 19, 2010
This is going to take several posts because it is so long. But please read before making comments. Hopefully they will be constructive:

Accounting for Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Wood Bioenergy

Response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Call for Information,
Including Partial Review of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences’
Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study
by
Jay O’Laughlin
Professor of Forestry and Policy Sciences
Director of the College of Natural Resources Policy Analysis Group
University of Idaho

Highlights:

Peer review of PAG work is absolutely essential for ensuring not only
technical accuracy but also impartiality and fairness. Why isn't the Manomet Study being peer reviewed?

The utilization of woody biomass to produce energy is accompanied by concerns about
sustainable forest management and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from burning biomass.

A novel (debt & dividend) approach is presented in the Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study commissioned by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.
The “debt-then-dividend” model is flawed by time and space restrictions. The carbon cycle does
not begin at the time a tree dies, rather it is continuous; wood utilization requires many, many
stands sustained over a long period of time, not one stand over four decades as in the Manomet
Center study report. The study report also purposely ignores wood products carbon pools and
the benefit of avoided GHG emissions from substituting wood products for concrete and steel,
which consume large amounts of fossil fuel energy in their production. The benefit of wood
substitution is that fossil fuels stay in the ground, and their emissions are avoided.
Although the Manomet Center study report recognizes that “all bioenergy technologies―even
biomass electric power compared to natural gas electric―look favorable when biomass
‘wastewood’ is compared to fossil fuel alternatives”, analysis focuses on
whole-tree biomass harvesting. The report perplexingly claims that until trees regrow and
recapture carbon from the atmosphere, coal is a better choice than wood for producing
electricity. The study report also rejects the accepted convention that burning biomass to create
energy results in a zero net GHG emissions increase; i.e., the rest of the world considers
bioenergy is a low-carbon source of renewable energy, but the Manomet Center report does not.

The buildup of atmospheric carbon problem is a long-term problem, so a long-term sustainable
approach is appropriate; a short-term measurement of stack emissions approach is not. A
definitive life-cycle analysis would help identify environmental tradeoffs as policymakers sort
through the alternatives for future energy production.
One approach is to have facilities that burn biomass to produce energy report how much
biomass they burn, and where the biomass comes from. If it is from mill residues or forest
residues (i.e., logging slash or pre-commercial thinnings with no value as wood products
feedstocks) then there is no reason to “cap” these emissions as these biomass sources would
otherwise release carbon into the atmosphere in the near future anyway.
GrnMtnBoy

Roy, WA

#48 Nov 19, 2010
Box 1 identifies points that policymakers should keep in front of them while considering what
to do about bioenergy emissions.
Box 1
Some Things about Forest Carbon Accounting Policymakers Need to Know
1. Trees and other plants absorb (uptake) CO2 from the atmosphere.
2. Young trees grow faster and uptake CO2 more rapidly than old trees.
3. Old trees store more carbon than young trees, simply because they are larger.
4. Trees die and return stored carbon to the atmosphere.
5. Wood products store carbon for some period of time, and many displace concrete
and steel products that in manufacturing require large quantities of fossil fuels.
6. Bioenergy is a renewable substitute for fossil fuels that also can help improve
forest conditions and provide employment in rural communities.
In 2008, the Massachusetts Woody Biomass Energy report stated that “Burning fossil fuels releases
‘new’ carbon into the atmosphere that has been stored underground for millions of years.
Burning biomass releases carbon that was recently absorbed from the atmosphere by a growing
plant”(Urquart and Boyce 2008). In 2010, the Biomass Sustainability and Carbon Policy Study
report conducted by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (MCCS 2010a) for the
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources tried to develop a new way of thinking about
wood bioenergy and the carbon cycle by analyzing a single forest stand over a period of
decades, which is considerably less than the life of a tree. The Manomet Center’s contribution is
a biomass carbon “debt-then-dividend” model. Their approach overlooks items 2, 4 and 5 in
Box 1, and builds a case against item number 6, using wood bioenergy to substitute for fossil
fuels because of short-term effects.
Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are policies that 36 states have adopted that require
various changes in energy sources (DSIRE 2010). An RPS can increase pressure on utilities to
consider biopower. Massachusetts is one such state, and its 2008 report on Woody Biomass
Energy drew a distinction between fossil fuel emissions and biogenic emissions:“Burning fossil
fuels releases ‘new’ carbon into the atmosphere that has been stored underground for millions
of years. Burning biomass releases carbon that was recently absorbed from the atmosphere by a
growing plant”(Urquart and Boyce 2008).
The Manomet Center study report misinterpreted what “carbon neutral” actually means with a
statement that “... policies encouraging the development of forest biomass energy have
generally adopted a view of biomass as a carbon neutral energy source because the carbon
emissions were considered part of a natural cycle in which growing forests over time would recapture
the carbon emitted by wood-burning energy facilities”(MCCS 2010a, p. 6). To the
contrary, the USDOE and EPA consider emissions from biomass to be zero because biomass
combustion does not add new carbon to the atmosphere, not because after some period of time
forests will recapture CO2.
GrnMtnBoy

Roy, WA

#49 Nov 19, 2010
Management of multiple-product forests can help maintain and
improve the overall carbon balance.
How can forest management help reduce atmospheric CO2? The
EPA and resource management agencies should be focused on developing a consistent and
logical rationale. In some respects this question is more important than the “carbon neutral”
question, because forests can help reduce the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere. Five
forestry strategies can affect climate change. In order of their relative importance these are 1)
reduce stand-replacing fires; 2) keep forestlands in forests; 3) afforestation and reforestation; 4)
use wood products as substitutes for fossil fuel-intensive products; and 5) forest management
and rotation length (Cloughesy 2006). Any effort to significantly reduce wildfires will generate
large volumes of biomass and require the development of an additional workforce (USFS 2005).
A science synthesis report on forests and carbon by the Ecological Society of America identified
eight strategies for managing forests to enhance their role in carbon management. Avoiding
deforestation is at the top of the list. Biomass energy and use of wood products in place of
concrete or steel are two viable strategies (Ryan et al. 2010). According to the scientists who
wrote the forestry chapter in IPCC report on climate change mitigation strategies,“In the long
term, a sustainable forest management strategy aimed at maintaining or increasing forest
carbon stocks, while producing an annual sustained yield of timber, fiber or energy from the
forest, will generate the largest sustained mitigation benefit”
The “carbon debt-then-dividend” conceptual model used in the Manomet Center study report
is problematic for four reasons:
1) the choice of today as the beginning time frame for carbon cycling instead of in the
past when the existing forest began to uptake atmospheric CO2;
2) use of stand-level instead of the landscape-level modeling―“management actions
should be examined for large areas and long time periods”(Ryan et al. 2010, p. 4);
3) failing to use a life-cycle approach that includes emissions from transporting energy
feedstocks; and
4) failing to include the carbon sequestered in wood products that result from the timber
harvest “business as usual” scenario, and the avoided fossil fuel emissions from
substitution for concrete and steel products in the analysis.
GrnMtnBoy

Roy, WA

#50 Nov 19, 2010
The Manomet Center study report short changes policymakers by focusing primarily on
analysis of GHG emissions, using a novel model designed to replace the long-established
principle that biomass combustion results in a zero net emissions increase because it is part of
the continuously ongoing carbon cycle. In so doing the Manomet Center study report treats
biomass as if it were mined like fossil fuels, until sometime in the future when the biomass has
regrown and repaid its “carbon debt.” In reality, that “debt” is imaginary because biomass was
produced by the carbon cycle and will be replaced by it unless deforestation occurs.
Furthermore, the use of wood products that replace concrete and steel immediately produces
the benefit of a permanent reduction in GHG emissions much greater than the “biomass carbon
debt.” In addition, by selecting a small area to analyze, the model ignores the fact that adjacent
vegetation will immediately reabsorb the carbon emitted to the atmosphere from dead
vegetation, whether death is the result of harvesting biomass to make wood products or energy,
or from fire, insects and disease.

The idea that the combustion of coal is somehow better for the atmosphere than the combustion
of wood for bioenergy as currently practiced in the U.S. does not make sense. The current
debate is likely to conclude that burning wood to produce electricity is an improvement over
burning coal, now, but only if the feedstock comes from sustainably managed forests. The
reason is not so much that biomass combustion result in a zero net emissions increase―
although this is a valid argument because the carbon cycle is a continuous process―but rather
because the bioenergy industry consumes “waste wood” residues that otherwise have no use
and will be returned to the atmosphere in a short period of time anyway. This approach is
strongly supported in the literature cited herein, including the Manomet Center study report.
Logging residues are a substantial underutilized resource that enlightened forest and energy
policy could convert from a liability to an asset. Improving the condition of forests in many
areas of the nation would involve thinning overly dense forests and salvage of dead timber.
These materials could be used as energy feedstocks. The policy question is not whether wood
bioenergy emits more CO2 than coal, but whether it makes sense to enable and facilitate use of
biomass produced by the carbon cycle to substitute for fossil fuels, or encumber such use and
continue to mine fossil fuels while allowing forests to decay and burn.
GrnMtnBoy

Roy, WA

#51 Nov 19, 2010
"Last month over 100 scientists sent a letter to Congress supporting biomass as an energy source saying that biomass was part of the biogenic carbon cycle:
http://nafoalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/Bi... ;
Liberty

Rutland, VT

#53 Nov 19, 2010
GrnMtnBoy wrote:
What is the source of this information? I'd like to go to the website.
Thomas Emero and William Bousquet had been involved with previous incarnations of Beaver Wood — Alternate Energy Inc. and GenPower Services LLC — racking up $130,000 for air violations for its biomass plant in Chester, Maine, she said. Records received thorugh public information requests in Maine, she continued, found the biomass plant in Ashland, Maine, between 1998 and 2000 had 44 violations for exceeding the limits of carbon monoxide emssions, 126 violations for air opacity, 79 incidents of carbon-emission violations and two nitrous oxides violations.
see post #44. The link at the bottom. It appears to have come from the same site.
Please Everyone

Adams, MA

#54 Nov 19, 2010
http://benningtonberkshirecc.org/the-proposal...

Pay close attention to that link. These are FACTS.

So people can have all of the pollution controls in the world, but look what happens when you ignore them.

“figuresdontlie*l iarscanfigure”

Since: Feb 10

S. Londonderry VT

#55 Nov 19, 2010
TMI! Totally uneccessary & extremely poor netiquette to post volumes of information.

Did you ever hear of that handy modern phenomena of posting 'links'?
GrnMtnBoy

Bennington, VT

#56 Nov 19, 2010
northstardust wrote:
TMI! Totally uneccessary & extremely poor netiquette to post volumes of information.
Did you ever hear of that handy modern phenomena of posting 'links'?
Sorry about that. I should have just posted the link.

here it is: http://benningtonberkshirecc.org/the-proposal...
Numbers

Bennington, VT

#57 Nov 19, 2010
lol!! BIOMASS POLLUTES! PLAIN AND SIMPLE! CLEAN IT ALL YA WANT BUT IT STILL POLLUTES AND WHY PAY ALL THAT MONEY TO GET MORE POLLUTION?
GrnMtnBoy

United States

#59 Nov 19, 2010
Liberty wrote:
At their LIVERMORE FALLS, ME incinerator:
Emero and Bousquet were fined $276,000 for emissions violations; including for a fire that lasted over a month.
The plant failed repeatedly failed inspection and in 1999, it was fined by OSHA for not having a guard rails which resulted in the death of an employee who fell from a tower. They were fined $7,000 for this and tried to appeal it.
AE started burning CDD in November 1997 in Livermore Falls. It got its license amended (through a minor amendment without Public Hearings) to allow burning 30% CDD, and by 2001 got permitted to allow 60% CDD.
AND ON AND ON IT GOES
FOR MORE GO TO
http://benningtonberkshirecc.org/the-proposal...
I wouldn't call this a reliable source. They give no references. The "facts" they are talking about are over 10 years old. Nothing to do with newer plants and emission standards.

The McNeil Station is equipped with a series of air quality control devices that limit the particulate stack emissions to one-tenth the level allowed by Vermont State regulation. McNeil's emissions are one one-hundredth of the allowable Federal level. The only visible emission from the plant is water vapor during the cooler months of the year.

https://www.burlingtonelectric.com/page.php...
GrnMtnBoy

United States

#60 Nov 19, 2010
Numbers

Bennington, VT

#61 Nov 19, 2010
DID YA GET YOUR WHEATIES TODAY GrnMtnBoy United States? YOU'RE GOING TO NEED THEN!

FACT! BIOMASS POLLUTES! FACT!
GrnMtnBoy

United States

#62 Nov 19, 2010
Everything pollutes numy. The power you are using to run your computer right now pollutes.YOU pollute. I pollute. WE ALL POLLUTE. Animals pollute.
Numbers

Bennington, VT

#63 Nov 19, 2010
ATTN: GrnMtnBoy United States

THATS EXACTLY WHY WE HAVE TO STOP ANY MORE POLLUTION! BIOMASS POLLUTES AND THATS WHY WE MUST STOP BIOMASS FROM COMING TO POWNAL, FAIR HAVEN, VERMONT OR ANYWHERE IN USA!

SIGNED : WAY SMARTER THAN YOU!

P.S. DID YA GET YOUR WHEATIES TODAY GrnMtnBoy United States? YOU'RE GOING TO NEED THEN!

FACT! BIOMASS POLLUTES! FACT!
JKing

Bennington, VT

#64 Feb 25, 2011
{{{{{{{TO THE RESIDENTS OF POWNAL}}}}}}}

Become involved!

Get the facts!

Understand what biomass ACTUALLY is and does!

If you don't already know learn who your local, state and federal elected officials are!

If you don't already know learn who your local candidates are for this cycle are!

Contact them by phone, email, mail and or face to face and communicate your feelings, concerns and questions then demand answers to the hard questions!

Even if it's your first time and you don't like doing things like this please come to the Town Meeting on Monday February 28, 2011 7:30 pm at the Elementary School gymnasium!

Even if it's your first time and you don't like doing things like this please vote on Tuesday March 1, 2011 from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm at the Pownal Center fire station.

Educating yourself about the issues and voting are the only ways you can truely understand and be heard!

Don't sit there and let these users smile to your faces and laugh behind your backs.

6662

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