Monday, November 4, 2013

Coal Power Plants Are Burning Wood To Reduce Carbon Emissions: The Odd Effects of Government Regulations

From The New York Times, "Power Plants Try Burning Wood With Coal to Cut Carbon Emissions" by
"We’re finding an emissions improvement benefit, and an economic benefit," because the wood is cheaper than coal, said Allan S. Rudeck Jr., Minnesota Power’s vice president for strategy and planning.
Using modest amounts of wood at a large number of coal plants could be a relatively quick way to phase in renewable energy. And unlike wind or solar power electricity from a boiler, burning wood is easy to schedule and integrate into the grid.
Wood does release carbon when burned, as nearly all fuels do. But taking woody material from forests or farms leaves space for new growth, which will absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. Although some opponents of using wood say that disrupting forests means added carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for generations, regulators usually count its use as zero carbon.

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