NEW BEDFORD, Mass., June 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A logjam is stalling the development of new biomass facilities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
That's the position of Michael A. Camara as Chair of the Coalition for Biomass Energy for MASS. He says the Construction & Demolition (C&D) wood waste material in Massachusetts is an important commodity that has environmental benefits as a green fuel.
"We have a tremendous amount of sustainable biomass fuel that is generated right here in Massachusetts, which should be reused right here in Massachusetts to create green energy," states Mr. Camara. "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. That is the green way and is what we should all be working together to achieve."
The Coalition disputes the claim of biomass opponents that the wood to fuel a biomass facility will come from our forests. The Green Seal Environmental study has identified 2.5 million tons of available wood waste from sources including wood wastes from C&D recycling, Mass Highway, commercial and residential development, public and private tree services and others. The DSM Environmental study also shows a tremendous amount of wood available for biomass.
A study done by the University of New Hampshire indicates it is much safer for the environment to use C&D wood waste for energy locally than to ship it out of state or bury it in a landfill. Trucks travel our roads, highways and bridges every week, carrying thousands of tons of recycled C&D wood to Maine, Pennsylvania and to biomass plants 340 miles away in Canada and spewing emissions that harm the environment.
Biomass supporters fault the position of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) in not recognizing the environmental value of using C&D waste materials as a fuel. Facilities that combust waste wood cannot obtain renewable energy credits (RECs), yet electric distributors are required to buy a consistently increasing amount of power from facility with RECs. Without RECs, facilities that use waste wood as a green fuel will not be able to competitively produce electricity. RECs would also provide for additional investment in wood removal technologies.
From 2000-2008, private and public companies invested in C&D recycling facilities, providing construction jobs and permanent jobs. The state leads the country in its state-of-the-art C&D recycling infrastructure. In 2006, to increase recycling, the Mass DEP banned from disposal certain C&D wastes and required recyclers and transfer stations to recycle cardboard, metals, aggregate (asphalt, brick and concrete) and wood. Yet there are no in-state outlets for the 2.5 million tons of wood generated in Massachusetts.
"Massachusetts desperately needs the green construction and green permanent jobs, tax revenues and the sustainable renewable energy from biomass," Mr. Camara says, noting that the use of C&D wood as a renewable energy source will benefit the Commonwealth both economically and environmentally. "Biomass is a $1 billion per year industry that employs 14,000 Americans, many of them in rural areas. In 2008, this country spent $475 billion on foreign oil, the largest transfer of wealth in the history of mankind. We need to replace foreign oil with biomass as well as wind power and solar energy to prevent the release of 30 million tons of carbon into the atmosphere annually."
SOURCE Coalition for Biomass Energy