Thursday, May 22, 2014

Trees are not the solution to our electricity needs




By Marvin Roberson

There is a lot of concern in Michigan, especially the Upper Peninsula, about meeting future electrical needs. Many aging, polluting coal plants are soon to go offline, as they should. New coal plants are unlikely to replace them, and would be a poor choice even if feasible.
There is, and should be, significant focus on energy efficiency and renewable sources of electricity. A portion of our future needs is likely to be met through biomass electricity generation. Biomass electricity is generated by burning plants.
Biomass can come from a variety of sources. Switch grass, waste wood, corn stalk residues and the like all may be burned to generate electricity. Standing timber (live trees cut down for the purpose of burning them) can also be used — and in our state, that’s the primary form of biomass available. In Michigan, with its vast forests, many people naturally think of this resource as an opportunity to generate green, renewable power.
This is a mistake.  More ...

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