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GREENS’ CAMPAIGN TO SUBSTITUTE WOOD FOR COAL IS OPPOSED – BY GREENS


November 12, 2010
Nuclear Townhall
From the Editors


 

In a case of the pot calling the kettle black, North Carolina environmental groups have announced their opposition to a plan by Duke Energy to substitute wood for coal in two power plants.



The announcement coincides paradoxically with this week’s declaration by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that it will be encouraging utilities to burn wood for coal in order to meet its new carbon standards. In guidelines released Monday, the EPA said utilities substituting wood for coal would not have to do anything else to reduce carbon emissions.


The EPA maneuver based on a flawed thesis – among some environmental camps – that burning crops and forest products is somehow “carbon-neutral.”  Because the carbon in plants and trees were taken out of the air only recently, the theory goes, it will not add to atmospheric carbon dioxide, whereas the carbon in coal is being released after millions of years.


But carbon fixed by plants or trees can enter the soil or the food chain and may take decades or centuries to make its way back into the atmosphere.

Burning this year’s crop – or worse yet, long-living trees – only accelerates the cycle. One study published in Science two years ago found it may take 90 years to neutralize the carbon deficit created by clearing land for biofuels. On the other hand, environmental groups often argue we “can’t wait” for nuclear power plants to cut carbon emissions because they may take ten years to build.
 â€¨Burning crops and trees also promises other potentially alarming effects. The ethanol craze that now consumes 30 percent of the corn crop by some estimates has been blamed for rising world food prices that set off Mexico’s “tortilla riots” in 2007 and brought down the government of Haiti. The threat of decimating the nation’s forests was what prompted Elizabethan England to substitute coal for wood in the 16th century.


Faced with a state mandate to produce 12.5 percent of its electricity with so-called “renewables,” however, Duke Energy recently announced it would dutifully substitute wood for coal at two plants in North and South Carolina. Duke quickly discovered that “wood wastes” would not provide nearly enough material and so requested permission from the North Carolina Utilities Commission to chop up whole trees for its boilers. The commission approved.



Enter the Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Defense Center, both of whom perpetually tell the world that “renewables” are the solution to all energy problems. "The commission’s decision allows utilities to cut and burn our state’s forests, with no questions asked," said EDF wood biomass specialist Will McDow in a statement reported by the Charlotte Observer. "Giving unrestricted access to burn thousands of acres of natural forest is imprudent."

Said one perplexed energy observer, "Anybody here ever hear of nuclear energy?"

Read more at the Charlotte Observer
 

 

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4 Responses to “
GREENS’ CAMPAIGN TO SUBSTITUTE WOOD FOR COAL IS OPPOSED – BY GREENS
”

  1. harlz Says:

    I’ve always wondered how the strategy of burning in 60 seconds a tree that took 60 years to grow is carbon neutral. Aren’t the kinetics out of whack here?

    At least the absurdity of this mandate is one point I can agree on with SEDC (I also agree with Greenpeace on saving the whales).

    Maybe when these people get tired of running around in circles chasing energy chimeras they will finally look up and see the 800-pound gorilla that has been sitting patiently in the room the whole time – atomic energy.

  2. harlz Says:

    I’ve always wondered how the strategy of burning in 60 seconds a tree that took 60 years to grow is carbon neutral. Aren’t the kinetics out of whack here?

    At least the absurdity of this mandate is one point I can agree on with SEDC (I also agree with Greenpeace on saving the whales).

    Maybe when these people get tired of running around in circles chasing energy chimeras they will finally look up and see the 800-pound gorilla that has been sitting patiently in the room the whole time – atomic energy.

  3. Tom Blees Says:

    This sounds a lot like the plans to burn oak forests in Germany to generate electricity, a scheme apparently okay with the same environists who are demanding the shutdown of Germany’s nuclear power plants. Sheer lunacy!

  4. Tom Blees Says:

    This sounds a lot like the plans to burn oak forests in Germany to generate electricity, a scheme apparently okay with the same environists who are demanding the shutdown of Germany’s nuclear power plants. Sheer lunacy!