Tuesday :: Dec 28, 2010

Biomass Hits a Road Bump In Olympia


by Oly Mike

Biomass is an interesting "green" energy story. Biomass got added into the last round of Federal legislation that had funding for alternative energy tax credits. Biomass has some green potential, but the devil is in the details.

Here in the NW, biomass means burning forest materials to produce steam, electricity and that's probably not so green because it puts more market pressure on NW forests and NW forests are amazingly powerful engines of carbon sequestration.

Here in South Puget Sound, the green energy tax credits have spurred construction planning of a whole bunch of new biomass plants. The construction trades need the jobs of course and there are reasons (qualifying for tax credits) why the biomass incinerators have to break ground asap, so the battle is joined between environmentalists who are scurrying to gather data about the air quality impacts, the deforestation impacts, and the simple long term economics of these incinerators.

I can write more about biomass with links if there is interest, but for now, I just want to note that Thurston County, WA (county seat - Olympia, the State capitol) passed a one year moratorium on construction of biomass to provide time to study air quality impacts. This may be the first regulatory stop for the biomass industry in the country. My hat is off to the Thurston County Commissioners for demanding time to study the impacts.

Oly Mike :: 8:27 AM :: Comments (1) :: Digg It!