[GRRN] Fwd: "Green" Energy

Sat, 13 Nov 1999 17:42:59 EST

Certified "sustainable energy" from burning municipal solid waste and
forests? Time to "Just Say No!"

The following message comes from the Pennsylvania Environmental Network:

---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
Date: 11/13/99 5:35 AM

Green energy from "sustainable certified logging" & wood burning?

There is a danger that there may be an increasing market for wood burners
which would source their wood from the use of "certified sustainable
forestry" to be sold as "green energy." Please read over the following
and respond as you see fit.

The Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) is the group based in San
Francisco, California which administers the Green-e program and hosts the
Green Power Board, which makes decisions for the program. The Green-e
program decides what will be certified as "green energy" for electric
marketers who choose to pay CRS $3000 to certify each of their products.

Green-e energy "products" must contain at least 50% "renewables" in their
energy mix. Between 0% and 10% (increasing over the years) must be new
renewables (defined as anything built after a certain date... in
Pennsylvania, that date is 1/1/1998). Renewables are defined to include
a category called "biomass," which is essentially the burning of anything
"organic" which is not of fossil fuel origin. In California's program,
this can include municipal solid waste (garbage). In Pennsylvania, that
type of incineration is specifically excluded, but there doors are still
open to many other types of "biomass" fuels, including:

-landfill gas
-sewage sludge
-animal factory wastes
-construction & demolition debris
-"clean" wood waste
-wood and paper industry by-products
-"sustainably-harvested" wood

In New England, there are groups being brought in to help the Green-e
program decide what would constitute sustainable sources of wood for wood
burners. They expect to play along with some certification program which
will make them look nice and green when they tack a "Green-e" label on a
wood burner. Given that a major platform of the "green energy" groups is
that they want to prevent global warming, it seems absurd that they'd
slap a "green" label on something that involved chopping down trees to
burn them for electricity.

Whatever certification guidelines are drawn up in New England are likely
to be used nationally to define what "green" wood burning "from
sustainable forestry" means. Any groups who would like a say in this
ought to engage in the discussions going on in New England.

The Pennsylvania Environmental Network (PEN) is taking a national lead
in protesting the use of "biomass" incineration as a renewable fuel. PEN
lauched a boycott on the market leader, Green Mountain Energy Resources
(GMER) until they commit to not using such fuels. GMER is already
claiming energy from two lumber industry burners in southwest Oregon in
their green energy sales to California.

PEN has a series of articles on green energy available at

There are two ways groups which are interested in addressing this issue
can get involved:

1) Contact Meredith Wingate at the Center for Resource Solutions (contact
info below) and ask to be included in the discussions going on with this
issue in New England.

2) Contact Mike Ewall at the Pennsylvania Environmental Network (contact
info below) and ask what you can do to help apply pressure on the Green-e
folks (CRS and the green energy marketers) to end the use of biomass as a
renewable energy source.

Meredith Wingate, Green-e Program Manager
Center for Resource Solutions
Presidio Building 49
P.O. Box 29512
San Francisco, CA 94129
Fax: 415-561-2105

Mike Ewall
Pennsylvania Environmental Network
1434 Elbridge St.
Philadelphia, PA 19149