Friday, April 1, 2011

One energy plant in the UK to use biomass equalling total UK wood production

I am a great fan of renewable energy, and also of the use of biomass for heating, electricity generation and fuel. But this is all linked to a considerable, and I mean considerable downsizing of our energy consumption. Without that we are more likely to ruin even more nature by increased use of biomass. I am now speaking about energy consumption on industrial country levels.

In a desperate search for energy that is "carbon neutral" the UK now just gave permission for the conversion of a giant power plant to be fueled by wood pellets. It will use 7 million per year. This corresponds roughly to the UK wood produciton.  This will nearly double the amount of wood pellets burned in the entire EU – 9 million tones in 2010.  The company, RWE, will receive around £400m in 'renewable energy' financial subsidies a year for this power station alone. Most of the wood to fuel British power stations will have to be imported as the Forestry Commission has calculated that only an additional 2 million tonnes of wood fuel per year could be produced from within England by 2020. This is why these facilities are based at ports like Southampton, Holyhead, Tyneside and Avonmouth, where they will receive shipments of wood from Brazil, the USA, Canada, West Africa, Russia and elsewhere. Read more, 
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This is the second round for British wood consumption to extol pressure on forests elsewhere. Some 150 years ago, industrialization in  England drove massive deforestation in Sweden and elsewhere, until the increased use of pit coal and steel and rapidly increasing prices of wood drove down demand.  

There is simply NO good solution to our energy needs - apart from downsizing. It will be a rough ride, in particular for densely populated countries with limited nature resources, such as England. 

Read my other posts about Biofuel 

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