Re: greenyes-d Digest V99 #344

Blair Pollock (
Mon, 15 Nov 1999 17:57:47 -0500

Did I miss something, isn't biomass a renewable energy source with net zero
carbon emissions? Provided that the biomass is harvested from properly
managed woodlands (or other crop sources) why is it inherently
problematic/unecological to consider it a renewable resource, thus OK for
properly controlled combustion?

>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
>End of greenyes-d Digest V99 Issue #344
Blair Pollock
Phone: (919) 968-2788
Fax: 932-2900
Town of Chapel Hill
Solid Waste Management Department
306 North Columbia St.
Chapel Hill NC 27516-2113