Berlin, New Hampshire Biomass Power Back from the Dead
-By Josh Schlossberg
(source: Berlin Daily Sun, Barbara Tetreault, Aug. 24, 2011)
Sept. 13, 2011
A 75-megawatt biomass power incinerator proposed for Berlin, New
Hampshire that was canceled this summer is once again moving forward
with construction. The Babcock & Wilcox Company plans to
start operations in 2013 according to a company press release, requiring
750,000 green tons of wood per year. The facility will be sited four
miles from the eastern edge of the White Mountain National Forest.
The proposal appeared terminated after six existing biomass power facilities appealed a decision by the New Hampshire Public Utilities Committee in state Supreme Court to approve a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Public Service of New Hampshire
to buy electricity from the proposed facility. Five of the six biomass
companies appealing the decision had their power purchase agreements
A settlement was reached where the five facilities would receive 20-month power purchase agreements.
Trees for Vermont's McNeil biomass power incinerator
Biomass Industry Webinar Reveals PR Strategies
-By Josh Schlossberg
Aug. 30, 2011 Presenters for Biomass Thermal Energy Council’s webinar “Public Perceptions of Biomass Energy”
reminded biomass developers that public opposition can “kill” biomass
projects, advised them to sponsor their own pro-biomass advocacy
organizations, and disregard recent science debunking the “carbon
neutrality” myth of biomass.
University of Florida
researcher Richard Plate acknowledged the difficulty of biomass gaining
the same level of public support as solar and wind, since “with biomass
we’re still burning something.”
Eric Kingsley, vice president of the New England-based Innovative Natural Resource Solutions,
recommended that biomass developers hire an “army of lobbyists, lawyers
and PR” and to avoid providing opportunities for those concerned about
biomass to communicate to the audience during public hearings. Kingsley
also noted that the larger the project, the greater the opposition, in
Responding to a participant during the Q&A segment, Honey Rand, of the Florida-based Environmental PR Group,
acknowledged fierce competition between the biomass industry and
non-smokestack renewable energy industries, such as solar and wind, for
limited renewable energy funding and in the legislative arena.
Massachusetts Coalition Rallies for Stronger Biomass Regulations
Sept. 19, 2011 A
statewide coalition of twenty-four environmental, health, and social
justice groups rallied at the State House in Boston, Massachusetts to
urge Governor Deval Patrick to stand by his administration’s 2010 pledge
to limit ratepayer–funded incentives for biomass combustion power
plants that burn wood for electricity. Rally attendees presented 5,000
new petition signatures to the Governor’s staff along with an
“environmental ticket” from the “Earth Cop.”
Biomass power incinerators “have worse air pollution than coal and don’t deserve our clean energy money,” said Biomass Accountability Project’s
Meg Sheehan. Since 2009, residents from across the state have signed
over 135,000 petitions, postcards, letters and emails asking for biomass
regulations, with some groups demanding a complete moratorium on state
permits for biomass electricity until outstanding questions about health
and climate change impacts are answered.
New Report Compiles Biomass Health Concerns of Medical Professionals
-By Josh Schlossberg
"Second Opinion: The Medical Profession Diagnoses Biomass Incineration," by Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League's
Therese Vick, compiles testimony from physicians, nurses, and medical
health associations "warning of exploding health care costs due to the
proliferation of biomass incinerators" in the U.S.
incinerators "release many pollutants into the air such as nitrogen
oxides (NOX), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon
monoxide (CO), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), heavy metals
like lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), arsenic, and particulate matter,"
according to the report.
report mentions how "many of those who will be the most adversely
affected are medically underserved and already suffer disproportionately
from health problems."
Biomass concerns are documented from organizations such as the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Massachusetts Medical Society, Florida Medical Association, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, and several physicians and nurses, including a pediatrician and an asthma specialist.
Study Debunks "Biogenic" CO2 Myth
are excerpts from "Biogenic vs. geologic carbon emissions and forest
biomass energy production," by John S. Gunn, David J. Ganz, and William
S. Keeton, published in Global Change Bioenergy, 2011.
physics of the greenhouse effect is indifferent as to the origin of the
pollutant. Once a molecule of CO2 is in the atmosphere its heating
capacity is the same regardless of its source.
alternatives to fossil fuels include use of forests where C is emitted
and resides in the atmosphere for long periods of time (e.g. decades or
longer), a reduction of atmospheric concentrations of CO2 (e.g. to 350
ppm; Hansen et al., 2008) will be difficult to achieve and may
contribute to some degree of irreversible climate change (Solomon et
al., 2009). With this in mind, we must continue to ask ourselves whether
we are truly using forests to their greatest atmospheric benefit.
long as the world continues to experience net loss of forest cover
(deforestation) and harvest intensity increases, the residence time
period for biogenic C in the atmosphere is likely longer than what is
assumed by many scientists. Moreover, most sequestration of this
biogenic C in the atmosphere will likely occur beyond the critical
timeframe for addressing climate change (e.g. the next 50 years).
One Big Pile of...
Below are excerpts from a letter by Dr. Clement Monroe on a chicken litter incinerator proposed for Moore County, North Carolina.
power plant will be located...about 1,500 feet from Drowning Creek and
the Moore County line...[and] fueled by burning 35,040 tons of chicken
litter on site each year. Data from the North Carolina Department of
Energy and Natural Resources...estimate that this is enough chicken
litter to prudently fertilize 61 square miles, or almost 39,000 acres.
the entire 35,040 tons were purchased from local growers, every
"dropping" of litter produced within the nearest half-million acres
would be consumed by the plant. But since it is not likely that the
plant will successfully capture 100 percent of all chicken litter
produced locally, long-distance chicken litter will have to be trucked
to the Drowning Creek site to meet the plant's demands of 8,000 pounds
|Letter to the Editor
Please send Letters to the Editor (150 words) in response to content to thebiomassmonitor [at] gmail.com.
Solar [“Solar Power at Night?” August 2011]
is one of the most attractive renewable sources of energy throughout
the world, from China to Europe, and from New Jersey to California. In
the US the solar industry employs more than 100,000 Americans, working
at more than 5,000 companies, the majority of which are small
businesses. In the last couple of years the price of solar panels has
dropped so significantly that solar installations have become
increasingly viable even for smaller residential projects. What once
cost more than $12 per watt, now costs less than $5, and after tax
savings less than $2.
can go a long way as a society in terms of our energy security by
embracing renewable sources like solar, wind and geothermal. If combined
with measures to improve energy efficiency and energy conservation,
this will not only save us money and create jobs, it will also protect
our natural resources and contribute to a healthier environment.
-Michael G. Noll, President
Wiregrass Activists for Clean Energy
|From the Editor
By Rachel Smolker, Managing Editor
is in the air, and it feels like a good time for a rally! Massachusetts
citizens did just that at their State House in Boston, demanding
stronger biomass regulations--and soon!
But it goes both ways;
environmentalists are more than a bit annoyed that our President caved
to industry claims of "burdensome regulations," directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw ozone protection rules.
Meanwhile, as forests fall and temperatures rise, an article in Global Change Biology
advises that "inferred benefits of biogenic emissions over fossil fuel
emissions should be reconsidered." No kidding! Let's hope common sense
|Biomass Buster of the Month
|Mike Ewall - Washington, D.C.
Mike Ewall is the founder and director of Energy Justice Network, a national support network for grassroots community groups fighting dirty energy and waste industry facilities.
2006, Mike started the Biomass Opponents email discussion list which
brings together grassroots anti-biomass activists from around the
nation. Having formed networks of grassroots opposition to coal,
natural gas, ethanol, and other dirty energy and waste technologies, he
works to bring these communities together in a unified campaign for
A recent graduate of law school, Mike is also
working to develop a legal toolbox of local ordinances that can be used
to block polluters.
|Eye on D.C.
Obama Nixes NOx Standards
-By Rachel Smolker
Sadly, our "Yes We Can" President Obama caved to big business when he opted earlier this month to direct the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
to withdraw its Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards. These
standards would have required polluters to clean up some of the mess
they dump into our lungs, including nitrogen oxides (NOx), a pollutant
emitted by combustion facilities like biomass incinerators.
cited the need to "reduce regulatory burdens and uncertainty."
Apparently that was a priority over relieving the burden of asthma that
hundreds of thousands of children are suffering as a result.
biomass industry will certainly be delighted, as this will make it
easier for them to get their dirty burners, which spew out
ozone-producing compounds, permitted.
Sign your organization (or yourself) on to the National Anti-Biomass Campaign! Go to www.energyjustice.net/platform
or send an email to traci [at] energyjustice [dot] net. Help spread
opposition to biomass incineration across all 50 states and change U.S.
Preamble: "We oppose all industrial,
commercial and institutional burning of biomass and biofuels for energy.
We call for deep reductions in energy consumption and a rapid phaseout
of nuclear power and fossil fuels. Although there is an urgent need for
rapid transition from fossil energy sources, plant-based alternatives
for energy are not sustainable and are a dangerous false solution that
threatens to worsen rather than resolve the problems we face."
LED vs. CFL Lightbulbs
lamps typically use less power (watts) per unit of light generated
(lumens). A good LED lamp can generate twice as many lumens per watt as a
CFL (50-100+ versus 40-80).
LED lamps last much longer than CFLs, as much as 10x longer (50,000 hours versus 5,000 hours).
LED lamps generate less heat than CFLs.
lamps typically are RoHS compliant, meaning that they have no or, at
most, negligible amounts of hazardous substances within the scope of
that compliance (lead, cadmium, mercury). CFLs, on the other hand, all
have 1mg-5mg of mercury (even more in tubular fluorescents).