Is the Wood industry green? Not really, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. And at the center of this argument between the wood industry and the EPA is the embattled Clean Power Plan.
Both the American Wood Council and the American Forest and Paper Association approved the U.S. Supreme court’s decision to stay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan.
According to Donna Harman President and CEO of the AF&PA “The CPP does not put biomass on a level playing field with other renewable energy sources”.
According to Harman, Stopping the Clean Power Plan will spare the wood industry “the enormous costs and scope of electricity and energy sector restructuring”
The Clean Power Plan may not come to be
The new administration at the White House seems also set to topple the Clean Power Plan and so far (as of April 2017), lawmakers have agreed to halt proceedings on the implementation of the plan in order for the Trump administration to review it.
Biomass is not a clean power source, according to the clean power plan
Biomass in the wood industry means wood pellets, which are used to power anywhere between 60% and 75% of wood industry installations. Wood pellets are also used to power homes and have enjoyed a strong growth in export to European countries in recent years.
The EPA lumps Biomass (and the wood industry) in with coal or gas based energy generation. Is that fair? Yes and no.
Yes, it’s fair
The CPP proposes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It targets those who create electrical power, forcing them to reduce their CO2 emissions and making them more efficient. EPA wants them to clean up their use of natural resources, and ideally get them to use zero emission resources. Burning Wood Pellets creates CO2.
No, it’s not fair
Coal or natural gas, which are big polluters create most electricity. Biomass, on the other hand, has a very small portion of the energy creation market.
According to 2014 statistics from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, Biomass (which includes wood pellets) only accounts for 1.7% of the USA’s total energy production compared to coal and natural gas, respectively at 39% and 27%. Doesn’t it seem like the EPA is picking on the little guy?
What’s more, burning wood pellets is actually carbon neutral. A tree absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere when it grows. Burn it, and it gives it back equal measure.
It’s really not fair
When you think that up to 75% of the wood industry is carbon neutral powered and in that way is so progressive compared to so many other industries, it is no wonder that the AWC and AF&PA are challenging the EPA’s proposed plan. We can only agree.
We value sustainability. We power our manufacturing facility using hydro-electricity. Hydro creates no greenhouse gas emissions whatsoever as it is generated by the force of water alone. (It’s also worth noting that clean, renewable hydro-electricity powers 99% of the province of Quebec!).
The TRIFORCE® open joist installations also use solar wall technology. The darkened outside walls of our facility have hundreds of holes in them. As a result, it traps and warms air behind these walls using the sun during cold weather. It ventilates Warmed air into the building and creates substantial energy savings.
You can learn more about TRIFORCE® open joist’s sustainability and our manufacturing plant here
The Clean Power Plan
Getting back to Clean Power Plan, it is hard to disagree with its objectives. Its target is to reduce smog and soot 25% by the year 2030. Furthermore, this would, among other things, avoid 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks among children and 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths.
EPA’s Clean Power Plan, if (and that’s a big if) and when implemented, will concentrate its efforts on the industries that need the most carbon emission reduction.