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Sustainable Biomass Program Under Scrutiny (FALL 2017)
A Close Look at the Sustainable Biomass Program
OPINION: Sustainable Biomass Program: A Best Practice Certification System by Carsten Huljus, Chief Executive Officer, Sustainable Biomass Program
OPINION: Sustainable Biomass Program Green Lights Forest Impacts by Sasha Stashwick, Energy and Transportation Senior Advocate, NRDC
– by Josh Schlossberg, The Biomass Monitor
One-quarter of renewable energy in the U.S. in 2015 came from wind (21%) and solar (6%), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Meanwhile, 43% was from generated from bioenergy, combusting trees, crops, manure, and trash for electricity and/or heat, or converting these materials into liquid transportation fuels.
So where do the nation’s largest and most influential environmental groups stand on bioenergy, the largest source of renewables?
The Biomass Monitor contacted representatives for the following organizations (listed alphabetically) to determine their stances on biomass power and heating, liquid biofuels for transportation, and trash incineration: 350*, Center for Biological Diversity, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, National Wildlife Federation*, Natural Resources Defense Council, Rainforest Action Network, Sierra Club, and Stand (formerly Forest Ethics).
*350 and National Wildlife Federation representatives didn’t respond to repeated inquiries, so organizational platforms are based on information found online.
– by Erin Voegele, June 24, 2016, Biomass Magazine
The National Resources Defense Council has released its 2016 Aviation Biofuel Scorecard, which rates airlines on the sourcing and use of biofuels. The scorecard is now in its third year.
According to the NDRC, 29 airlines were surveyed for the 2016 report. Reponses were received from 19, an improvement over the 17 that responded in 2015. Rather than ranking airlines individually, this year the NDRC grouped airlines into one of four categories: leading, advancing, basic and nonresponsive. According to the report, the categories were decided on the basis of commitments to sustainable fuel supply chain development, sustainable fuel use, and monitoring and disclosure.
– by Mark Heller, March 9, 2016, E&E
Once hailed as a renewable alternative to oil, energy from trees faces a dismal future.
Low oil and gas prices are threatening plants that make energy from wood chips and similar biomass. From California to New York, companies are on the verge of shutting down facilities that can’t compete with historically low gas prices — and the decline is prompting critics to say they’ve known all along that the biomass craze couldn’t last.
The latest potential casualty is in northern New York, where ReEnergy Holdings LLC has said it may close a 22-megawatt cogeneration plant by the end of summer if it can’t secure a customer for the power generated. The company is looking for potential government customers, and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has promised to help.
In California, once home to 66 biomass plants, about 30 remain in business, dashing the hopes of orchard growers looking for places to sell downed trees and branches.
“When oil is less than $30 a barrel, it’s going to be extremely difficult to compete in that arena,” said Ralph Cavalieri, director of the Agricultural Research Center at Washington State University, which has explored biofuel for airplanes. Investors in biofuel typically are looking for returns between 10 and 20 percent but haven’t seen rates much better than the single digits, he said.