NPR: Wood Energy Not ‘Green’ Enough, Says Massachusetts
You can listen to the National Public Radio segment from All Things Considered here. The opening snip is below:
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: When it comes to renewable energy, wind and solar get a lot of attention. But wood actually creates more power in the U.S., and Massachusetts state officials are scaling back their efforts to encourage wood power. It may be a renewable resource, they say, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for the environment. NPR’s Elizabeth Shogren has that story.
ELIZABETH SHOGREN, BYLINE: Power plants that turn wood into electricity aren’t anything new. They’re called biomass plants. They’ve become more popular as states have tried to reduce the use of fossil fuels. The idea is wood is a renewable resource. You can always grow more, but the state of Massachusetts decided it wasn’t enough to be renewable. It wants climate-friendly fuel, so it kicked most power plants that burned wood out of a program that helps renewable electricity plants earn more revenue. Mark Sylvia is commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources.
MARK SYLVIA: I think what it says is that Massachusetts is very curious about focusing on our climate goals.
SHOGREN: Massachusetts wants to cut its greenhouse gases 25 percent by 2020 and power plants are a huge source of greenhouse gases, so the state asked some scientists to take a hard look at the greenhouse gas footprint of power plants that burn wood. John Gunn of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences was one of the researchers who did the study. He says the results challenged conventional wisdom.
JOHN GUNN: Basically, we found that if you’re going to switch from using fossil fuels for energy to using more wood for energy that, for a period of time, the atmosphere would see an increase in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.