How is it renewable energy if it emits greenhouse gases?

A biomass power plant does produce carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas. However, if the fuel supply is obtained as a byproduct of reducing fire hazard in natural forests, the plant emissions may be offset by the reduced emissions that would have occurred if the forest burned. Wildfires are significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. For example, it has been estimated that the 2007 Angora fire in the Lake Tahoe Basin released 141,000 metric tons of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere within a period of a few days. This is equivalent to the emissions from over 28,000 cars in one year.

By utilizing fuels derived from forest management, that reduces the probability of wildfire, and, considering the natural growth patterns of biomass, a biomass power plant can be considered “carbon neutral.” Biomass is a unique fuel in that it is derived from a resource that is naturally replenishing by taking in carbon from the atmosphere. Also, using biomass for electricity production may offset the use of fossil fuels, further reducing greenhouse gas production.

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?