The fuel of the future
Environmental lunacy in Europe
Apr 6th 2013
WHICH source of renewable energy is most important to the European Union? Solar power, perhaps? (Europe has three-quarters of the world’s total installed capacity of solar photovoltaic energy.) Or wind? (Germany trebled its wind-power capacity in the past decade.) The answer is neither. By far the largest so-called renewable fuel used in Europe is wood.
In its various forms, from sticks to pellets to sawdust, wood (or to use its fashionable name, biomass) accounts for about half of Europe’s renewable-energy consumption. In some countries, such as Poland and Finland, wood meets more than 80% of renewable-energy demand. Even in Germany, home of the Energiewende (energy transformation) which has poured huge subsidies into wind and solar power, 38% of non-fossil fuel consumption comes from the stuff. After years in which European governments have boasted about their high-tech, low-carbon energy revolution, the main beneficiary seems to be the favoured fuel of pre-industrial societies.
Should American Wood Fuel European Power?
Growth of wood-fueled power generation in Europe spurs protests from Southern environmentalists in the U.S.
By Elizabeth Harball and ClimateWire | November 14, 2014
Europe's renewable energy targets drive demand for wood pellets. Other voices in the forestry sector, including Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, said that wood-based energy is renewable because the wood burned is replaced by other trees that take in carbon dioxide, making the process carbon-neutral.
Today, however, it is not U.S. policy that is driving the growth of the wood-fuel sector. Europe depends heavily on wood-based fuels to meet its goal of sourcing 20 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
-- Scientific American