Posts Tagged ‘biomass’


Carbophobes discover biomass burning is far from ‘carbon neutral’. It’s taken some of them a long time to admit that it’s one of their clumsiest attempts to ‘tackle’ the phantom that is human-caused climate change.
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Europe’s academies of science have called on EU lawmakers to introduce a “radically new standard” in the blocs’ Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to ensure net carbon emissions from biomass power stations are “properly accounted for and declared”, reports Euractiv.

The ETS is the EU’s flagship tool for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and obliges power generators, industrial emitters as well as airlines to buy CO2 permits on the market to cover some of the pollution they emit.

But although the ETS currently assumes that all biomass is carbon neutral, Europe’s academies of science say this is mostly not the case.

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This states the obvious of course. More carbon dioxide is emitted per unit of energy from biomass than from coal, undermining claims of ‘climate benefits’, and wood pellet production is energy-intensive. But ‘carbon targets’ mean the biomass obsession goes on due to lack of alternatives, given general dislike of nuclear power.
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Leading industry figures acknowledge that not all biomass brings benefits to the climate, insisting that only low-value wood and forest residues should make the cut under EU law, says Euractiv.

“Not all biomass is good biomass,” says Jennifer Jenkins, chief sustainability officer at Enviva, a US-based company which is the world’s largest producer of industrial wood pellets used for electricity and heat production.

“We agree that not all biomass should automatically be categorised as carbon neutral,” Jenkins told an online debate organised on 29 June during EU sustainable energy week.

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What use is it? That would be the obvious one, when better alternatives not requiring ludicrously high subsidies are readily available.
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A new report from climate change think tank Ember reveals the cost of burning wood for power, with energy billpayers committed to subsidies of more than £13 billion, including £10bn at Drax power station alone.

In addition to the direct subsidy, we estimate biomass generators are receiving carbon tax breaks of £333 million a year.

The UK has now left the EU, and there’s an opportunity to reassess carbon pricing – including in the design of the UK emissions trading system.

In this research, we demonstrate why the UK should abandon the carbon tax break afforded to large power stations burning biomass (mostly wood in the form of pellets or chips).

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Biomass on the move [image credit: Drax]


Are we nearing the end of the road for further large-scale wood pellet burning at UK power stations? Cheaper gas from either US or UK fracking must now be influencing business plans.

PEI reports the UK’s biggest power producer Drax is considering the conversion of its remaining coal-fired power units to gas, instead of biomass power, as originally planned.

Management believe a gas-fired power conversion would allow the company to qualify for 15-year contracts in the country’s capacity market auctions. As the government has already changed its stance on renewable energy subsidies which had made biomass conversion attractive, this would be a logical step for Drax.

The company has already converted half of its Yorkshire coal plant to burn wood pellets, but plans to switch the remaining units to biomass have since halted due to the government decision.

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Yes folks, they’re going to burn wood on an industrial scale and call it ‘climate-friendly’. You couldn’t make it up.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

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By Fred Pearce

It looks like greenwash. European nations publicly keen to boost their climate credentials by switching to “green” biomass are accused of working behind the scenes to expunge their carbon emissions from burning wood in power stations from national emissions statistics.

“If we don’t measure emissions when trees are cut, we won’t measure them at all,” says Hannah Mowat of FERN, a European NGO working to save the continent’s forests, who has followed the EU negotiations on the issue.

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