U Rate This Biomass Technology- Maine Wood to Energy

Here’s a link.
Based on this article, these projects should:

1) reduce costs for schools compared to fuel oil for heating
2) employ people in the State of Maine
3) meet EPA air quality standards

So conceivably we are comparing the environmental benefits and costs with that of fuel oil. Remember on our previous post we talked about some of these:

Environmental impacts of removing from ground.
Environmental impacts of transportation from location to processing site
Environmental impacts of processing activities
Environmental impacts of transportation from processing center to site of use
Environmental impacts from use at site of use.

So what we would need to do is examine all of these impacts from local wood use compared to fuel oil.

Here is an article about wood for fuel in Maine and the results of the Governor’s Taskforce from the Maine Democrat website.

Here are some quotes from this article:

Wood pellets are a great option for the people of Maine. Some are converting their systems, pulling out their old natural gas, oil or propane furnaces and installing wood pellet furnaces to heat their homes or businesses,” said Commissioner of the Department of Conservation, Patrick McGowan, who is heading up the initiative. “Most people are buying wood pellet stoves and to supplement the oil, propane or natural gas furnaces and they have found real savings. The DOC changed over our forestry operations for the 07-08 winter, and cut costs in half. Now with oil prices even higher, we will see greater savings.”

With home heating oil at $4.70 a gallon, it amounts to thousands to heat an average Maine home. Residents are now looking for home heating security. Wood pellets, made in Maine, are a local natural resource. The pellets are made from sawdust, or wood waste from mills or forests. They vary in quality depending on the stock source. Maine’s forests could be part of a readymade solution to the energy crisis.

“This is a Maine solution, using a Maine natural resource, processed at Maine plants, employing Maine people at a stable price. Energy prices connected with fossil fuels have all gone way out of sight. What we know is there is no shortage of oil; they are blaming it on speculators for the most part. But, it’s greed on the part of oil companies. People of Maine are struggling. It’s not your local oil dealer that’s making this money. He’s still working the same margin they worked on for the past two decades.”

I also think there is some congruence between the statements above and those of Chris Huhne UK Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in his remarks in China earlier this week as posted here.

Regardless of the public consensus on climate change, it is clear that relying on increasingly rare fossil fuels is not a long-term option. We cannot be exposed to the risk of resource conflict. Nor can we afford to remain at the mercy of volatile fossil fuel markets.

Not only are we vulnerable to interruptions in supply, we are also exposed to fluctuations in price. Oil or gas price shocks could reverberate throughout our fragile economy, hampering growth.

A more sustainable supply of energy is not an expensive luxury. It is a critical component in our national and economic security.

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