Waste to Energy a Health Hazard?

Waste to Energy a Health Hazard?

- by Mark Martin, June 23, 2013. Source: Christian Broadcasting Network 

Do you know where your trash goes? Landfills aren't the only option. Some goes toa  plant, where it's burned for energy. But some believe that may not be such a good idea.

Like a giant claw, a huge crane slowly descends into a pit filled with tons of trash, or "municipal solide waste" as it's known in the industry. The refuse holding pit is located at the Energy/Resource Recovery Facility near Washington, D.C. It is Covanta Energy's largest "energy from waste" facility. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it's one of 86 plants that burns municipal solid waste to recover energy. The plant processes around 3,000 tons of municipal solid waste each day. Company leaders say that produces enough electricity for 80,000 homes.

Largest Biomass Incinerator in the World Shuts Down

Largest Biomass Incinerator in the World Shuts Down

- by Jan Hromadko, July 8, 2013. Source: Euro Investor 

RWE AG (RWE.XE) said Monday it has abandoned plans to extend the operating life of the world's largest biomass-fired power plant, citing poor energy demand, low power prices and a heavy debt load for forcing the German utility to cut back on spending.

The 750-megawatt power plant in Tilbury, located east of London on the river Thames, is now expected to be shut down at the end of October, the company said.

The former coal-fired Tilbury plant was converted into a 100% biomass-fueled facility in 2010 in anticipation that it could operate longer than presently allowed under European Union climate protection legislation, known as the Large Combustion Plant Directive, or LCPD.

Burning Wood is Not the Solution to Climate Change

Burning Wood is Not the Solution to Climate Change

- by Sophie Bastable, Biofuelwatch

Under the guise of ‘green energy’, burning wood in power stations has become a massive growth industry in the UK, with by far the biggest demand coming from coal-fired power station operators. So far, five of them have announced plans to convert, either partly or completely, to biomass. 

These are Tilbury in Essex, Ironbridge in Shropshire, Eggborough and Drax in Yorkshire, and Lynemouth in Northumberland. Between them these power stations will require almost six times as much wood as the UK produces in total every year. That statistic alone shows just how unsustainable wood-fired power stations are and it spells disaster for the world’s natural habitats, human rights, and our hopes of combating climate change.

Biofuels and Biomass Lose Favor: Investors Beware!

Biofuels and Biomass Lose Favor: Investors Beware!

- by Rachel Smolker, Biofuelwatch

Having spent the past eight years or so of my life fighting back against large-scale commercial and industrial bioenergy, it feels good to finally see the tides turning, albeit slowly, maybe not always for the right reasons, and perhaps too little too late. But consider that in just the past two weeks there have been some remarkable signs that awareness is growing and policies may be slowly shifting. 

A few examples: 

The DC Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the EPA, stating the agency has no basis for a three-year deferral that would have exempted CO2 from "biogenic" sources (ethanol, biomass, municipal wastes, landfill gases) from greenhouse gas regulations under the Clean Air Act.

End of the Road for Greenfield, MA Biomass Incinerator


Contact: Janet Sinclair 413-625-2886 / 413-478-4333

Concerned Citizens of Franklin County Greenfield, MA

July 18, 2013 

The plaintiffs appealing the Greenfield, MA Zoning Board decision to grant a Special Permit for a 47 Megawatt biomass power plant filed a request in the Franklin Superior Court to annul the permit. The request for the Final Judgment came after Cambridge, MA based Matthew Wolfe of Pioneer Renewable Energy allowed a July 16, 2013 deadline to pass.  The plaintiffs and the developer had agreed that if an amended permit was not submitted to the Greenfield Planning Board by the deadline, the permit would be annulled. 

The permit was issued in July 22, 2009. 450 people attended the permit hearings. Most who spoke were against the project, expressing concerns including questions about the wood supply and negative health and environmental impacts. 

Seneca Biomass Incinerator Requests Increase in Pollution Cap

Seneca Biomass Incinerator Requests Increase in Pollution Cap

- by Diane Dietz, July 17, 2013. Source: The Register-Guard 

The owners of a 2½-year-old electricity plant fueled with logging scraps have struggled to meet clean air standards since the facility began operations on the outskirts of Eugene and are asking regulators for a little more leeway to pollute. 

Seneca Sustainable Energy, on Highway 99 north of Eugene, has been caught by regulators spouting too much carbon monoxide, too much dark smoke and too much acetaldehyde — in conjunction with the Seneca sawmill next door. Plus, there has been uncertainty about how much fine particulate the plant emits.

In addition, the company ran seven months with its pollution controls for nitrogen oxides switched off, according to regulatory reports.

Court Rejects EPA Rule that Deferred Carbon Standards for Biomass Industry

Court Rejects EPA Rule that Deferred Carbon Standards for Biomass Industry

- by Jeremy P. Jacobs and Jean Chemnick, July 12, 2013. Source: Environment and Energy Daily

A three-judge panel scrapped a U.S. EPA rule today that had given biomass-burning facilities a pass on compliance with federal greenhouse gas emission standards.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit panel found EPA failed to justify its 2011 decision that provided a three-year exemption to its greenhouse gas rules for facilities that burn materials ranging from wood and algae to scrap tires.

In exempting biomass, EPA said it needed more time to study the overall impact of the industry's carbon dioxide emissions. Industry has contended that in some instances -- wood burning, for example -- biomass facilities have a net neutral CO2 impact because trees absorb the heat-trapping gas before they are cut down.