Nothing green about burning wood for electricity

Jeremy Wates, the Secretary General of the European Environment Bureau in Brussels, explains in a letter to Britain’s The Independent newspaper how there is ‘Nothing green about burning wood for electricity

By burning wood pellets instead of coal Drax power station has turned green, according to your report “Green energy: How one power plant chips away at the UK’s carbon footprint” (5 January). We would strongly disagree.

The pellets for Drax are coming from the forests of south-east America where pellet exports have dramatically increased in recent years. The European Commission has this week opened an investigation to assess whether UK government plans to support the conversion of part of the Drax plant to operate on biomass are in line with EU state aid rules.

Wood pellets from the US are not made of only low-grade waste wood or residues that serve no other use. A majority of the pellets are made of whole, hardwood trees, harvested by vast clear cuts. A study by the American Forest & Paper Association confirmed that 76 per cent of the feedstocks used to produce pellets is pulpwood that could also be used for paper, packaging or wood panels.

Read the full letter

Photo: Drax power plant (c) Jonathan Brennan, Flickr Creative Commons

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