Thursday, October 09, 2008

In search for energy sources, wood resurfaces

Alternative fuels are a popular subject these days, with rising prices turning attention toward wind and solar power. But a recent article highlights a popular energy source that's been around for a long time. Wood-powered electricity plants are on the rise, providing more electricity than its more glamorous counterparts combined.

"We are in trouble as a nation and we've got to utilize every single electricity production source we can. Whatever it is," said William Hull, one of the developers at a proposed plant in Russell, Mass. (pop. 1,700). The Associated Press says that today there are almost 200 U.S. electricity plants getting energy from wood. Most of those plants are connected to lumber or paper mills, which provide an immediate supply of fuel. Additional plants are being considered in areas across the nation which would gain its supply from clearing utility lines, wood found on forest floors or from lumber companies.

But the trend concerns environmentalists, who say using wood for fuel will upset the forest's delicate ecosystem. "A forest doesn't waste anything," says Bryan Bird of WildEarth Guardians, a New Mexico-based environmentalist group. "That's the next generation of soil and nutrients in a forest ecosystem." (Read more)

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