What is renewable biomass energy? Why is it renewable?

Renewable Resources

A renewable resource is one that naturally replenishes itself after it has been used or which is never depleted by use. Examples of renewable resources that are used to produce electricity include:

  • Biomass
  • Geothermal
  • Sunlight
  • Water
  • Wind

Renewable energy technologies harness the energy in renewable energy resources. In the cases of solar, wind, and hydroelectric power, use does not deplete the resource. Biomass resources can be replenished as trees can be propagated naturally or with the help of foresters.

Ways Resources Can Be Utilized for Electricity

There are three ways in which biomass resources can be utilized for electricity:

  1. Conversion of materials such as urban wood wastes and mill wastes.
  2. Dedicated energy crops (trees, shrubs and other plants grown specifically for energy production.
  3. As a byproduct of forest management activities. For example, biomass can be produced from thinning forest stands to reduce hazardous fuel loads or improve forest health. Generally, the biomass consists of small trees that are not usable for lumber or other purposes. Energy production from such sources is sustainable as long as there continues to be forest management activities producing and replenishing the biomass.

Show All Answers

1. What is woody biomass, and where does it come from?
2. What is renewable biomass energy? Why is it renewable?
3. What is a biomass power generation facility? How is power currently generated from wood?
4. How big is a biomass power plant? How big is the proposed eastern Placer County biomass facility?
5. What waste products does the plant produce?
6. What air pollution issues does biomass power present?
7. How would biomass power impact wildfire catastrophes? Will biomass power endanger our forests?
8. How is it renewable energy if it emits greenhouse gases?
9. Will there be an increased cost of lumber products or food produce? Will any food crops be impacted (like corn due to ethanol production)?
10. Is biomass power more expensive than other power generation?
11. Can biomass be used to make liquid or gas fuels? What about transportation fuels?