UK report confirms positive impact of biomass on carbon, forests

By U.S. Industrial Pellet Association | March 09, 2017

A report released yesterday by the UK Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, titled “Use of North American woody biomass in UK electricity generation”, reaffirms the positive impact of U.S. biomass industry on U.S. forests and carbon emissions.

Speaking about the report, USIPA Executive Director Seth Ginther said, “This study confirms that biomass sourced from US forests is sustainable and carbon beneficial and that bioenergy plays a key role in reducing emissions and mitigating climate change as a low-cost replacement for fossil fuels.

The report reaffirms the findings of countless academics and scientists – that when sourced sustainably, biomass can play an important role as a baseload renewable energy source. This report can be added to a growing body of academic and scientific research which shows that using biomass in place of coal can reduce carbon emissions by 74 percent or more.”


Key conclusions of the report:

This report and the accompanying Bioenergy Emissions and Counterfactuals (BEaC) Model was commissioned by the UK government to look at the carbon intensity of different supply chain models for the bioenergy industry and found that normal, widespread industry practicesī€ deliver major cuts in carbon emissions when compared to using coal for energy production.

Assertions from the extreme environmental NGO community that wood pellet production and use leads to reduction in forest cover, increased carbon emissions, or changes forest management and harvest decisions are shown in this study to be unfounded.

This report shows that using wood pellets for energy generation supports healthy forests and generates significant carbon savings at a lower cost. Thanks to a strong forest market, to which woody biomass contributes, forest inventory in southern US forests has continued to increase year over year for the last several decades.

The research identified economic decisionmaking as the driver for forestry practices,showing that the main value of a tree is in saw timber, not biomass for wood pelletproduction. It is therefore unlikely that demand for biomass would cause foresters to change behavior and harvest sooner than they intended or to switch to supplying wood for bioenergy.

About USIPA: The US Industrial Pellet Association (USIPA) is a not for profit trade organization that promotes safety and sustainability practices within the US export wood pellet industry, as well as the growth of the overall bioenergy market. USIPA was founded in February 2011 by several industry leaders, including Enviva, Fram Renewable Fuels, Georgia Biomass, and the Westervelt Company. More information can be found at www.theusipa.org.