– by Josh Schlossberg, October 14, 2016, The Vermont Independent
Vermont’s 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) aims for a statewide transition to ninety percent renewable energy by 2050 while “virtually eliminating reliance on oil.”
To help reach these goals, the state seeks to cut energy consumption by fifteen percent by 2015 and by over one-third by 2050 through efficiency and conservation measures.
Within ten years Vermont hopes to procure twenty-five percent of its energy from renewables, with forty percent by 2035. For 2025, the breakdown would include sixty-seven percent renewable electricity, thirty percent renewable heating, and ten percent renewable transportation fuels.
A significant component of renewable energy would come from bioenergy, mostly sourced from forests, with a small percentage of agricultural crops such as willow and grasses.
The CEP outlines eight principles to guide the further development of bioenergy in the state.
The Future of Biomass Energy in New England
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The Great North Woods of New England is a source of clean air and water, wildlife habitat, carbon storage, tourism and recreation. The bioenergy industry also considers it an abundant source of fuel for heating and electricity.
On Thursday, October 20 The Biomass Monitor spoke with Evan Dell’Olio, Director of External and Regulatory Affairs for Roberts Energy Renewables, who has analyzed current trends to lay out his predictions for the future of biomass energy in New England.
The Biomass Monitor conference calls are held the 3rd Thursday of every month. For the recording of this call go to thebiomassmonitor.org and subscribe to our free, monthly online journal investigating the whole story on bioenergy, biomass, and biofuels.
[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Wood Pellets: Don’t Cut and Burn Forests, Preserve Them As Carbon Sinks,” by Janet Sinclair of Concerned Citizens of Franklin County.]
– by Charlie Niebling, Partner, Innovative Natural Resource Solutions
A quiet revolution is taking place across the northeast. Heating with wood is finding broad new acceptance in applications from residential wood pellet stoves and boilers, to institutional and industrial pellet and chip heating of schools, businesses and hospitals.
Nothing new here, you say? Northeasterners have been heating with wood for almost 400 years, and Native Americans long before that. But we are not talking about your grandfather’s wood furnace, or the inefficient outdoor wood boilers that have given wood heating such a black eye.
New technologies that burn wood nearly as cleanly as propane and oil are making steady inroads into the northeastern market. It’s the ability to burn with efficient combustion that could lead to mainstream acceptance. Fully automated pellet systems of all sizes, bulk wood pellet delivery, refined and semi-dried wood chip fuels, and advanced technology boilers with smart emissions controls are making inroads and on the cusp of popular uptake.
[Read the opposing view to this opinion piece, “Wood Pellets: Modern Wood Heating Making Inroads Across Northeast,” by Charlie Niebling of Innovative Natural Resource Solutions]
– by Janet Sinclair, Founding Member, Concerned Citizens of Franklin County
The Franklin and Berkshire Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG and BRCOG), in partnership with Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), Massachusetts Forest Alliance, Franklin Land Trust, and others have formed a coalition to leverage up to $25 to $30 million of mostly public funds to create a National Forest designation in Western Massachusetts. Claiming ample public input, the project needs state and federal legislation for it to happen, and the FRCOG and BRCOG are in the process of writing the state law, hoping to get it passed in the coming months.
The Mohawk Trail Woodlands Partnership (MTWP) is defined as “A Plan for Forest-Based Economic Development and Conservation.” At this juncture, it is a vaguely defined set of activities with an advisory committee made up largely of commercial forestry interests. The centerpiece of the plan is to pay $5-6 million for a wood pellet manufacturing facility that would take “waste wood” out of the forest, and increase the demand for pellets by using a state funding agency (Massachusetts Clean Energy Center) to pay to install wood pellet boilers in the schools, as well as other buildings and residences.
– by Tux Turkel, February 21, 2016, Portland Press Herald
The combination of low heating oil prices and a mild winter have whipsawed the state’s four wood pellet producers.
A year ago, homeowners were having trouble finding bags of pellets for their stoves to combat record-cold weather, so manufacturers ramped up production. This winter, they’re laying off workers and looking at stacks of unsold pellets.
“They geared up to be running at full speed,” said Bill Bell, executive director of the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. “Last winter at this time, they couldn’t make them fast enough.”
The lack of demand is hurting each of the mills.