Generating renewable energy, creating green jobs and generating new revenue for state trusts that support education and other services are goals of DNR’s Forest Biomass Initiative.
Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark will explain the initiative, its relevance, and its urgency in his keynote address at the Pacific West Biomass Conference and Trade Show this January. Goldmark also will outline to attendees DNR’s rapid progress incubating a sustainable forest biomass industry. Several test pilots with private firms are underway, as is a University of Washington study to examine the sustainable supply of forest biomass, such as slash, a residue of forest management practices previously considered ‘waste.’
A DNR factsheet explains that emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses from combusting forest biomass for energy are considered “carbon neutral.” The emissions contribute to the already cycling stock of carbon being exchanged between the biosphere and the atmosphere as part of the earth’s carbon cycle. In other words, trees and other vegetation emit carbon one way or another and forest biomass-to-energy projects (unlike oil, coal and other fossil fuels) do not add more carbon to this natural cycle.
The new industry would not use traditional timber sources or whole trees. It also would not rely on downed logs, stumps and other material that the state’s forest practices regulations require loggers to leave on a site after a harvest.
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