Push for Ethanol Production Carries Costs to Land

- by Dina Cappiello and Matt Apuzzo, November 12, 2013, Source: AP

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"152","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"361","style":"width: 304px; height: 361px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"304"}}]]The hills of southern Iowa bear the scars of America’s push for green energy: The brown gashes where rain has washed away the soil. The polluted streams that dump fertilizer into the water supply.

Even the cemetery that disappeared like an apparition into a cornfield.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. The ethanol era has proven far more damaging to the environment than politicians promised and much worse than the government admits today.

As farmers rushed to find new places to plant corn, they wiped out millions of acres of conservation land, destroyed habitat and polluted water supplies, an Associated Press investigation found.

Five million acres of land set aside for conservation — more than Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined — have vanished on President Barack Obama’s watch.

Bills Show Rate Changes from Biomass Incinerator

- by Christopher Curry, October 30, 2013, Source: The Gainesville Sun

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"116","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"331","style":"width: 333px; height: 304px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;","width":"363"}}]]The October bills for electric customers of Gainesville Regional Utilities show the first of two rate increases scheduled for this budget year with the biomass plant coming online.

Bills sent out this month to residential customers show higher rates than in August and September. Still, they are below the rates in place for 10 of the 12 months of the budget year that ended on Sept. 30.

The more significant increase will come in December, the month the biomass plant is scheduled to go into full commercial operation.

For a residential customer using 1,000 kilowatt-hours a month, the October bill is $124.15. That is an increase from the $115.67 bill for that usage level in August and September. But it is below the $127.67 bill that a residential customer using 1,000 kwh a month would have had from October 2012 through July 2013.

250 Scientists Concerned about Post-fire Logging

250 Scientists Concerned about Post-fire Logging

November 4, 2013, Source: Yuba.net

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"151","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"300","style":"width: 250px; height: 167px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","width":"450"}}]]In an open letter to the U.S. Congress, 250 scientists request that Congress show restraint in speeding up logging in the wake of this year's wildfires, most notably the Rim fire in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park.

The scientists raised concerns that currently proposed legislation (HR1526, which passed in the House in September, and HR3188, now before the House) would seriously undermine the ecological integrity of forest ecosystems, setting back their ability to regenerate after wildfires.

Wood – An Imperfect Biomass

Wood – An Imperfect Biomass

- by Jack Dini, November 12, 2013, Source: Canada Free Press

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"101","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 444px; height: 400px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The largest, so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is not solar power or wind power, but wood. As The Economist reports, “In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable energy consumption.

In some countries, such as Poland and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable energy demand. Even in Germany, home of the energy transformation which has poured huge subsidies into wind and solar power, 38% of non-fossil fuel consumption comes from the stuff. After years in which European governments have boasted about their high-tech, low-carbon revolution, the main beneficiary seems to be the favored fuel of the pre-industrial societies. The EU wants to get 20% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020; it would miss this target by a country mile if it relied on solar and wind alone.” (1)

EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves

EPA Bans Most Wood-Burning Stoves

- by Tara Dodrill, October 2, 2013, Source: Off the Grid News

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"150","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 270px; height: 187px; float: left; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px;"}}]]Wood-burning stoves offer warmth and enhance off-grid living options during cold weather months, but the tried-and-true heating devices now are under attack by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA has banned the production and sale of the types of stoves used by about 80 percent of those with such stoves. The regulations limit the amount of “airborne fine-particle matter” to 12 micrograms per cubic meter of air. The current EPA regulations allow for 15 micrograms in the same amount of air space.

Concerns Raised About Vermont Biomass Incinerator Traffic

Concerns Raised About Vermont Biomass Incinerator Traffic

November 13, 2013, Source: AP

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"149","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 250px; height: 188px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]A hearing officer for Vermont’s utility regulating Public Service Board has recommended that a state certificate of public good not be granted to a proposed biomass energy plant in North Springfield because the project would create too much truck traffic.

In a document filed Friday, board hearing officer John Cotter said that truck traffic to and from the plant would have an undue impact on the community and its narrow streets.

Environmentalists Press Detroit to Stop Trash Incineration

Environmentalists Press Detroit to Stop Trash Incineration

- by Jim Lynch, November 20, 2013, Source: The Detroit News

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"33","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 275px; height: 213px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]The city’s new solid-waste disposal contract represents an open door to local environmentalists, and some are trying to push the city for further action.

Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s office law week said the city selected a pair of firms to handle Detroit’s garbage. Advanced Disposal Services and Rizzo Environmental Services are expected to begin trash pickup and curbside recycling in May.

The introduction of curbside recycling means a reduction in the amount of material going to the Detroit incinerator. Some activists said Wednesday they would like to see the city go further and divert all garbage from being burned at the energy-from-waste facility.

Yet Another Fire at Wood Pellet Facility

Fire Damages Ernst Biomass Pellet Plant

November 11, 2013, Source: Bioenergy Insight

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"148","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 250px; height: 186px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;"}}]]Ernst Biomass' pellet plant in New Jersey, US has been damaged after a fire broke out on 9 November.

The incident is reported to have caused $50,000 (€37,330) worth of damage to equipment such as the facility's conveyor system. Nobody was injured but production at the facility was temporarily suspended.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined but it is thought to have started accidentally. It took fire fighters about four hours to extinguish the fire.

Forests Could Face Threat from Biomass Power "Gold Rush"

Forests Could Face Threat from Biomass Power "Gold Rush"

- by Jamie Doward, The Observer

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"143","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"276","style":"width: 333px; height: 275px; margin-left: 7px; margin-right: 7px; float: left;","title":"Photo: Alamy","width":"460"}}]]Britain's new generation of biomass power stations will have to source millions of tonnes of wood from thousands of miles away if they are to operate near to their full capacity, raising questions about the claims made for the sustainability of the new technology.

Ministers believe biomass technology could provide as much as 11% of the UK's energy by 2020, something that would help it meet its carbon commitments. The Environment Agency estimates that biomass-fired electricity generation, most of which involves burning wood pellets, can cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90% compared with coal-fired power stations. Eight biomass power stations, including one in a unit in the giant Drax power station, are operating in the UK and a further seven are in the pipeline. None operates near capacity.