Green Shock: Entire Forests Being Murdered to Produce Wood Pellet Biomass

Man holds chainsaw in forest

Man holds chainsaw in forest. By U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t Breitbart / James Delingpole – Greens have discovered to their horror that producing renewable wood pellet biomass requires a large supply of dead trees.

Hardwood forests cut down to feed Drax Power plant, Channel 4 Dispatches claims

Brendan Montague | 16th April 2018

A Dispatches investigation has uncovered evidence of hardwood forests being chopped down to provide ‘green energy’ for the UK. Experts say unique habitats rich in wildlife are under threat as Britain’s power stations switch from burning coal to wood, writes BRENDAN MONTAGUE

Huge areas of hardwood forest in the state of Virginia are being chainsawed to create ‘biomass’ energy in Britain as the government attempts to reach targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in efforts to tackle climate change, an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches has found.

A key part of government efforts to hit its green energy targets is to switch from generating electricity from burning coal to burning wood – or so-called biomass. It’s a policy that is costing taxpayers more than £700 million per year through a levy on their electricity bills.

The biomass industry and government argue that because wood is a renewable source of energy and trees can be replanted to reabsorb carbon dioxide this policy is good for the environment.

The power station giant claims that burning pellets instead of coal reduces carbon emissions by more than 80 percent.

However, Dispatches conducted a simple experiment at a laboratory at the University of Nottingham to compare the carbon dioxide emitted when burning wood pellets, similar to those used by Drax, instead of coal.

Dozens of scientists

It found that to burn an amount of wood pellets that would generate the same amount of electricity as coal it would actually produce roughly eight percent more carbon.

Read more: https://theecologist.org/2018/apr/16/hardwood-forests-cut-down-feed-drax-power-plant-channel-4-dispatches-claims

Lets hope the next Dispatches investigation is a wind turbine special titled “where have all our birds gone?“.

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174 thoughts on “Green Shock: Entire Forests Being Murdered to Produce Wood Pellet Biomass

    • If you are concerned about releasing CO2 that was sequestered from the atmosphere in the past, it makes no difference whether one burns a tree which sequestered CO2 say 100 years ago (during the 20th century) or a lump of coal that sequestered CO2 say some 300 million years ago.
      The claim that biomass is carbon neutral is false accounting (ie., a sc@m) if one is concerned about the impact of CO2 released today and the impact of that CO2 in say 50 or 100 years time in the future. Burning biomass from wood felled from existing forests is not carbon neutral.
      It would only be carbon neutral if a tree is planted today, and then chopped down in 70 years time and burnt. The burning of such a tree would not then add to the CO2 during the period 2018 to 2100. It would be neutral over that time since when it is burnt it would simply be releasing the CO2 that it absorbed and used in photosynthesis during the period 2018 to 2050.
      Whenever considering this issue, don’t forget that the burning of biomass produces much more CO2 than burning coal or gas. Biomass has a considerably lower calorific value and thus in the short term this policy results in producing more CO2 than burning coal. Indeed, DRAX is a good example. Even though DRAX might be using only 3 incinerators to burn biomass, the amount of CO2 being produced by DRAX is almost the same when it used 6 incinerators burning coal!
      DRAX now produces considerably less power than it did when it was burning coal!
      If one truly wishes to reduce CO2 one should frack for gas, burn gas and plant a tree, or other fast growing vegetation. After all nature has already honed the best form of carbon capture and man will never better nature’s offering! Whilst I am not conncerned about rising levels of CO2, we probably ought to make more effort in turning scrub land into forests/vegetation.

      • Richard , what you say is correct up to a point which should be clarified and I’ll explain.
        But firstly, my view is that AGW / CC is nothing other than a political exercise on the part of the UN and complicit governments to USE CO2 for control and wealth redistribution. In the 1990s I was a fully signed up subscriber to AGW but then began to look at the ‘science’ behind and realised it was nothing but smoke and mirrors.
        The Original idea behind Biomass in the UK (and I’m talking early 1990s) was to purpose-grow specific, very fast growing crops which in one growth season would be a large enough crop to use for biomass. Thus each season’s growth would absorb as much CO2 as burning the previous season’s growth. Because this is largely CO2 neutral for power generation it will reduce CO2 emissions.
        Examples are willow from willow slips planted in poor quality, wet soil or Miscanthus (elephant grass). Those crops are about as close as you can get to CO2 neutral biomass, but they can never be neutral because of the CO2 emissions from planting, harvesting, processing and transport to the generation plant.
        Large scale felling of standing forests was never envisaged at that stage – you can thank the Al Gore, Green lobbies and the IPCC for the creation of the Carbon Credits and Forest certifications that were designed to transfer wealth to poorer countries in exchange for partial deforestation as well as specific tree planting schemes. Over the years I have looked at a number of these schemes and applications for both funding and certification – an old friend became heavily involved in this ‘industry’ from the funding and financing side and used to send me stuff to look at and comment on – many were little short of being a deception.
        But Biomass can work within a Local Area, and make a genuine and significant reduction in CO2 emissions at small scale. But it is not readily scaleable because of the acreages involved in growing and the fact that long distance and currently in the UK international haulage is CO2 intensive. .
        In 1992/3 I had a Renewable Energy Plan for Berkshire produced, I was Chairman of the Environment Committee of Berkshire County Council at the time and had already spent some time looking the whole range of RE schemes and, in those days, NFFO.
        NFFO, Non Fossil Fuel Obligation dates from October 1990 and was a funding support mechanism intended to make nuclear power ‘cost effective’ against coal in the wake of the battles between the UK government and the striking coal miners. Introduced by Margaret Thatcher it was intended to remove the power of the miner’s unions and prevent them from holding the country to ransom. That was the sole reason she championed ‘global warming’ despite as she admitted in her autobiography that when she saw the consequences she bitterly regretted her support of what she knew was false.
        Civil servants quickly saw how NFFO could be used to introduce and support any power generation other than coal and hence applicable to biomass as well as others. Berkshire then had a population of around 750,000 people and a land area of some 490 sq miles and the RE Plan was able to find ways to make a good, albeit not massive, contribution to reducing CO2 emissions within the county.
        It was, at my insistence, predicated on keeping it local and within the county. There was the potential for some small scale hydro schemes using the flow of the River Thame (some now in operation including in Windsor installed by the Queen), some local wind power on the Berkshire Downs and in Reading, anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge and small scale methane powered generation (Thames Water at Reading), and use of the Slough Estates pellet fired power station for locally produced biomass based pellets from biomass grown on low grade / borderline agricultural land.
        My view is that there is No Scheme involving the felling of standing forest for biomass which doesn’t cause a significant increase in CO2 emissions and , in too many instances huge deforestation and habitat loss- but hey what does the IPCC or the UN care ?? The latter has admitted that none of this is about ‘climate change’ it’s all about wealth redistribution and the destruction of the economic model that has prevailed since the industrial revolution.

      • If you are growing trees and harvesting every 33 years (eg. southern pine), then in 100 years that acre was cut and regrew 3 times and thus is more than carbon neutral–it is displacing quite a bit of fossil fuels.

      • But then that same patch of trees (forest) is only a fully functioning carbon sink about half the time. It takes the newly planted trees years to grow large enough to begin sinking the same amount carbon as Mature Trees do.
        So cutting the forests to produce biomass fuel effective depletes the forests carbon sink efficiency by almost 50% while leaving the forest alone allows for faster sequestration than immature trees would.
        Of course if they just removed the Dead Wood it would be a longer process and far costlier to produce the biomass

      • If you are growing trees and harvesting every 33 years (eg. southern pine), then in 100 years that acre was cut and regrew 3 times and thus is more than carbon neutral–it is displacing quite a bit of fossil fuels.

        Given that it appears that mature trees sink as much carbon as younger trees, if you did not cut the trees down, and simply left them standing, they would continue to be a carbon sink. By cutting down as you suggest, you are simply replacing one existing carbon sink with another similar sized carbon sink and therefore there is no net saving.
        It is far better to burn gas, and plant trees or other fast growing vegetation on scrub land if one wishes to reduce levels of CO2 (assuming of course that man is responsible for the current increase in CO2, and that that increase is not naturally driven).

      • Absolutely spot on, and besides that, correct, sir!
        I am amazed anyone could even begin to debate this simple logic. Especially given the transportation involved and the large difference in energy density involved.

      • If that hardwood were to be used structurally it would still be sequestered 100 years from now. Old homes with hardwood frames can be remodelled and the timber last even longer.

    • So what about our offsets then? Are they getting burnt anyway, even after they have been bought?
      Luckily I never buy offsets, but we have a ETS in New Zealand which is sucking money from the public and the government do not know what’s going on, because when I enquired, they said it was nothing to do with them, because ETS is not a tax. Which is true but the cash wrung from the public does not seem to be auditable either.
      If our forests AKA offsets are being chipped into firewood – what a scam!
      Cheers
      Roger
      http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

      • Roger,
        I am interested in any update you may have on the Christchurch City Council attitude to the sea level rise “threat”. Your post dates from 2016.

      • Roger,
        I have now located the 2017 Coastal Hazard Assessment Report on which the Christchurch City Council is basing the current policy about which you complain.
        The Council and its benighted citizens need help!

      • Hello Herbert and Rger –
        After five email discussions between myself and the Christchurch City Council, I
        show the final two –
        Dear Rex
        Many thanks for taking the time to consider the Tonkin and Taylor report and provide comments to the Mayor and Council.
        The IPCC projections are indeed from computer-based models and as such will be subject to uncertainty. The actual rate of sea level rise and the variation in this rate over time will depend on a number of complex interactions in the climate systems, as well as the influence of warming due to increased concentrations of greenhouse gases. That is the rate of increase may accelerate or slow in any one year or decade however the overall trend is projected to keep increasing.
        While there is uncertainty and variability in the rate of sea level rise in the future there is clear evidence of rising sea levels over the past century. And confidence in future predictions has increased particularly with the inclusion of the influence of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. Tonkin and Taylor propose the use of 1 metre sea level rise over the next 100 years for planning purposes. This level is considered to be both prudent and well supported by international research.
        In future planning for infrastructure and land use controls under the District Plan the Council will consider increasing the current allowance of 0.5 metre sea level rise over the next 100 years. As new information comes forward and the scientific consensus changes the allowance for sea level rise will be subject to ongoing review. As you point out we do need to take a long hard look at the science. The Council will also be seeking central government input into planning for sea level rise as this is an issue for a large number of coastal settlements. The Council also intends engaging with the community on the options and adaptation strategy for settlements in low lying coastal areas. A prudent and flexible approach is needed given both the level of the threats posed by sea level rise and the continuing uncertainty over how fast this may occur.
        The consequences for foundation costs relate largely to finished floor levels – which are higher within the Flood Management Areas delineated in the District Plan. These floor levels may be increased further in areas subject to tidal inundation. The issue of foundation costs for building on TC3 land are a little different and subject to a case by case evaluation of the geotechnical conditions on site.
        Once again thank you for your contribution to this discussion.
        Regards Helen Beaumont
        Natural Environment and Heritage Unit Manager Strategy and Planning Group
        Greeting Helen,
        I fully understand that you are following the hypothesis supporting the Flood Management Scheme as derived from the IPCC data and their ‘95% confidence level’ which I and many scientists consider to be vastly overstated for political and not engineering reasons.
        I suggest you mark your calendar at six years from today and compare my ‘95% confidence level’ – that there will be no more than 10mm rise (from natural expansion) as derived from the satellite data at the date of the next IPCC (AR6) report.
        You appear to have an open mind and have suggested we approach this exercise on a precautionary basis, which I would support were there not so much sound science conflicting the IPCC ‘prediction’.
        If you have the time, I would suggest reading this link – note that NZ is one of the countries referred to and in particular, Otago and Christchurch Local Authorities leading the way.
        I hope I am still alive to remind you in six years – “I told you so”.
        Best regards Rex Sellar – Dated 12/2 2014
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/02/11/going-coastal-what-exactly-is-coastal-resilience-anyway/

      • Herbert,
        Its great you have managed to actually speak to a Christchurch City Council official. However I think the sea level rise is a political issue though, and we need mayor and councilors who are just a tad right of center rather than the unwitting communists we have there now.
        I believe the CCC, once the furor died down, has registered the sea level “danger” on as many titles, (LIM’s actually), as they can get away with. I lost track of the resistance movement that was growing as Facebook started blocking my correspondence with the many members of the groups that were formed.
        If you think the sea level problem is bad, you should have try getting a building consent of average complexity through the council.
        I think with regard to Anthony and his site, I suggest we follow up things on http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com
        Will be keen to chat with you there actually.
        You might be interested to read my post at https://thedemiseofchristchurch.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/un-headquarters-and-usd1-2-billion-upgrade-and-rising/
        Cheers
        Roger

      • Sorry, I meant to address the comment below to both Herbert and Rex. Both welcome to chat on my site. Cheers
        Roger

    • The odd thing is that coal is a product of biomass. Coal was meant to be burned while trees were meant to absorb CO2 and provide oxygen in the air. The far-left is brain-dead stupid.

      • Mine Coal … Open Pit
        Burn Coal for Energy
        Plant fast growing trees (Poplar 10′-yr., Sequoia 6′-yr. for first 10 years, Transgenic Eucalyptus 16′-yr.)
        Harvest them every 10 years and stack them in the depleted Coal Pit.
        Cover them with water.
        Repeat till the Pit is full.
        Cover with soil to reclaim the land, sink the carbon and create a potential future source of energy.

      • The choices are: stupid, ignorant, barmy or malicious. Combinations thereof are not impossible.

      • @Brian A
        Mines are money making ventures, no profit, no mine. Putting such requirements on miners means no mine, no work, no energy, no economy, failed state.
        i.e. what the greenies want.

      • If they did I wonder how they’d spin it. Besides, we’ve know of DRAX and wood pellets for years, the only reason greenies didn’t realise was they had fingers in ears going “lalalalalaaaaa..” – or worse.

      • Wait, I thought wood pellets were shat out by Magic Reindeer – and since they’re magic, nothing they do can be wrong, can it??? Come on, I saw a Scientific Study in the Guardian that said so!!!

  1. Yes but the experiment does not factor in the emissions from the acts of cutting down and transporting trees for processing in to pellets, nor the transport of those pellets to a shipping port, nor the shipping of the pellets to another port in the UK, nor the transport of the pellets from the port to DRAX. I wager that it’s WAAAAAY more than 8%. And yet DRAX sits on top of hundreds of years of coal, right underneath it! CRAZY!

    • Plus, chipped wood is much more prone to spontaneous combustion than coal. Therefore they would have to develop more sophisticated methods to transport (e.g.ships, long distance road transport) and storage (e.g stockpiles at power generation sites) the wood chip fuel.

      • Not even close. I’ve worked at a coal plant. It is not unusual to see fires in the coal pile. So much so, that when I first reported them no one seemed the least bit alarmed.

      • The coal bunkers on the Titanic are thought to have been on fire from the time the ship left the dry dock.

    • The “hundreds of years of coal” being PRECISELEEE the reason why Drax was built where it was!
      In the same way that the Fife coalfield fed Longannet, Monktonhall fed Cockenzie, Leicestershire/Notts fed Rugeley amongst others, and so on and so forth!
      Switching from coal to gas makes sense but only if you factor in the additional costs — financial and environmental (and social as well if you wish) — of not using the fuel you are sitting right on top of!
      Switching from coal to imported wood chips makes sense only to a virtue-signalling politician!

  2. But wait! There’s more!
    Wood contains more carbon than hydrogen, so produces more CO2 per BTU than fossil fuels. Coal has a lower C to H ratio, oil better yet and natural gas best of all.
    Insanity!

    • The text says hardwoods are being cut and processed while the picture show a pine tree being cut. Yeah, I know: Picky, picky, picky. The issue is that size pine tree MAY be as old as 50 or even 60 years whereas a hickory or oak (hardwood) would have to be much older to grow to that size. — depending on growing conditions throughout its life.
      Now, what if many hectares of slow-growing, dense actual deciduous hardwoods are harvested and made into pellets then are replaced with faster growing but less dense evergreen pines or maybe poplars or sweetgums which are faster growing as well as being deciduous?

    • Thomas,
      IMO there are better uses for hardwoods than burning. More value could be produced by letting the more slowly growing hardwoods mature than by replacing them with more rapidly growing softwoods.
      Pine is indeed farmed in the SE of the US, more to be chipped than for structural lumber. Uniform age stands are easily harvested by machines rather than felled by loggers with chainsaws.

    • Wood not only contains more carbon, it contains more water. Newly felled tree wood can easily contain over twice as much unburnable water as dry wood fibre. One way or another, you must dry the wood chips to burn them. This can happen in a dryer or in the burning pile but either way it costs energy to prep the green wood. You can also let the wood sit around on the ground for at leaast a couple of years to allow it to dry . I seriously doubt they are doing that.

  3. Here’s the strangest fact about Drax power plant. It’s built where it is because it is literally sitting on top of a coal mine … that way coal transport costs were as small as physically possible. But when the green sickness came over Britain, they converted it to burning wood pellets. Industrial grade idiocy.
    Didn’t we used to burn wood for energy? Didn’t we give it up a hundred years ago because of the manifold advantages of coal???
    Intelligence is scarce, fair enough, but stupidity appears to be limitless … in any case, there’s an easy solution.
    Convert the damn thing back to coal and keep going … but nooo, because carbon.
    w.

    • Here’s another strange fact Willis: the whole process is so staggeringly expensive that, as Paul Homewood has demonstrated, the entire “profit” (and more cash flow besides) of Drax plc is made up of taxpayer subsidies. We are talking well in excess of £700m/$1bn per year and it’s only going to rise because, surprise surprise, Drax is gradually decommissioning its coal-fired plants to convert them into US virgin hardwood forest-destroying pellet-burners. You just couldn’t make all this up. Take away the subsidies – no more Drax (unless, of course, you reconvert to coal…).

      • The EU says burning biomass is renewable, hence the CO2 emissions are not accounted for. Hence the UK renewable energy targets are largely met by burning wood pellets and not emitting any CO2. It’s the modern miracle that is the insanity of the EU.
        No wonder Brexit and the potential escape from the asylum – except that most politicians in the UK are just as insane as the EU.

      • …the whole process is so staggeringly expensive …
        “staggeringly expensive” = lots of opportunity for profit.
        “amazingly cheap” = no chance for anyone to make a buck
        No prizes for guessing which approach is supported by those involved….

      • There is no “virgin” hardwood forest being cut to go to DRAX because in the Southeast US where they get their pellets there is no old growth at all except in national parks like the Smokies.

      • “… the whole process is so staggeringly expensive …” Ah but that’s the whole point.
        Our illustrious PM has signed us up with the good comrades in China, who I’m sure were ever so grateful for the deal, to build Hinkley nuclear power station. Obviously, it will produce electricity at 3 times or more the cost of Drax running on coal.
        Politically indefensible.
        However, if you can arrange for Drax electricity to be 3 times the cost and at the same time be ‘saving the planet’ what’s not to like?
        It’s a win win! (and possibly for someone another win all the way to the bank).
        And to think some thought it was all because some people in our Parliament were just plain stupid.
        Doing stupid and being stupid are two different things.
        Ah, politics. Don’t you love it?

      • …..and slap-happy delusional to believe that anything worth anything is being accomplished by this flight of idiocy.,

      • Just call it corruption, with with a token greenie lable, to hold off or escape criminal investigation.

    • Willis
      It was designed to come back and bite the greens on the arse. They were just too stupid to see that.

    • …Intelligence is scarce, fair enough, but stupidity appears to be limitless…
      “Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I am not yet completely sure about the universe.”
      Einstein (apocryphal, reported by Fritz Perls 1942/47)

    • Absolutely right Willis. Huge trains of specially constructed wagons transport the damned pellets through our local station in South Manchester daily. They have to go to the other side of the Pennines to Drax.
      Green lunacy!

      • Aye, I see plenty of them plodding along the trans-Pennine route adjacent the Rochdale canal. The speed they go, there’s a part of me thinks it might be more efficient to go properly pre-Victorian and transport the damned stuff in barges…

      • And a huge train of ocean going vessels to transport the wood from Virginia to the UK.
        Total insanity in quest of a chimera.

    • Willis Eschenbach
      April 18, 2018 at 11:48 pm
      No no no…it’s not coal. We did a tour of the Drax power station last year to see this nonsense first hand because I couldn’t believe it was actually happening (It is!). At Drax they don’t refer to it as “coal” anymore…it’s officially “that black stuff”! I kid you not!
      A very interesting tour nonetheless. The guide was an excoal miner at Selby! Needless to say, he had to tow the party line.

    • Grammar N@zi attacks again.
      “Didn’t we used to burn” is wrong. “Didn’t we use to burn” is correct. But if you said, “We used to burn”, then you’d be right.

    • The policy is indeed insane on any level. I’m not aware that generating electricity by burning wood was ever seen as economically viable, but to replace coal underneath the plant with wood from another continent is simply deranged.
      The reason it was done – so we’re told – is that EU regulations require a proportion of our power to be ‘renewable’, and the idiot EU bureaucrats have so defined the burning of wood.
      Hopefully, once we’re free of the EU we can abandon this nonsense.

      • Yet another good reason to celebrate the sound sense of British voters (well, English and Welsh) in choosing to Leave.

      • I really doubt it. The greens have had control of the politicians of all flavours for years, think back to Cameron’s Hug a Husky WWF trip). Thus we have the unique Climate Change Act which will continue to drive the lunatic policy even after leaving the EU, monitored and enhanced by the Climate Change Committee led by pie-fingers Lord Deben, (John Gummer) and influenced by the Grantham Climate Institutes at LSE and Imperial College.

      • Dennis,
        You might well be right that the British political class has drunk deep the cup of EU CACA Koolaid. But at least British voters can exert more influence over their masters than over untouchable, inviolate EU overlords.

    • Willis wrote:
      “Intelligence is scarce, fair enough, but stupidity appears to be limitless …”
      Einstein said:
      “Nothing is infinite, except the universe and human stupidity – and I’m not sure about the universe.”

    • “But when the green sickness came over Britain,”
      “Green Sickness”. I like it! Very descriptive.

      • I agree that’s a great descriptor. “Green Vapours” might also be a useful alternative, since it associates the Gaia-hustle’s pestiferous, scare-mongering, histrionic hype with backs of the hand to foreheads, fainting couches, and chuggin’ “Lydia Pinkham’s”. And that’s a good thing.

    • Drax had no choice.
      The coal was too expensive to mine and the cost benefit in wood burning was better than going for ultra low emissions mods to the coal plant and importing coal
      In fact Drax were buggered: the government reneged on the full subsidy it was goping to pay on wood pellet burning but by then it was too late.
      Finally dont be confused by ‘hardwood’ the fastest biomass accretion is from woods like alder poplar and willow – swamp woods basically – that grow very fast and contain as well as a lot of water, a lot of cellulose which makes them OK for fuel when pelletised (all are very poor open hearth or stove burners)
      They grow faster than softwoods
      Bu they are not on a par with oak ash lime etc etc.

    • Sorry, Willis. Didn’t see your reply before I posted. British Railways and the National Coal Board came up with a highly efficient system called Merry-Go-Round in which coal at the pithead was loaded from hoppers truck by truck as the train passed underneath and was automatically decanted at the other end. Round in a circle and start again.
      It extended the economically viable “reach” of the power station since costwise it was relatively unimportant whether the pithead was half-a-mile away or five miles away once the tracks were laid.
      Some if the greats of the mining industry — and the unions — must be turning in their graves at the idea of shipping a less efficient, dirtier fuel 4,000 miles. Not to mention genuine environmentalists.
      “Coals to Newcastle” comes to mind!

  4. “Greens have discovered to their horror that producing renewable wood pellet biomass requires a large supply of dead trees.”
    Really? British AGW sceptics have been banging in about the utter insanity of the whole Drax issue for years and years – but nobody in the MSM or the government has been prepared to listen to date.
    When the history of the AGW scare is written up, people will look back on this sordid story complete with bad science, bad economics, bureaucracy, politics, corruption – you name it it’s got the lot.

    • Every day I throw my hands up in the air and scream about the idiocy of global warming. What a complete and utter hoax and mess we are now in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????

  5. I have asked some of my ‘green’ friends:
    Is it better to burn coal, and leave trees standing, or cut down trees and burn them?
    They blink and can’t answer. Next question:
    Would a forest of large trees fix more CO2 per year than saplings planted to replace them?
    Err, umm.. Next question:
    Would it be better to turn the trees into building material when you cut them down, or burn them?.
    Silence. Next Question:
    So, is burning trees in power stations a good idea?
    How to lose friends and alienate people…….

    • Very well said Sonosametman
      The green politicians will destroy any countries economy that they are allowed to meddle with.
      They force consumers to subsidies their crazy schemes and claim that they are saving the world .
      Unfortunately the greens are part of our government in New Zealand and the excrement is about to hit the fan .
      They have banned off shore oil and gas exploration and now they want to tax agriculture emissions .
      No other country in the world includes methane emissions from live stock and no other country feeds so many people around the world .
      New Zealand has a population of a little over four and a half million people and we feed 45 million people in other countries around the world.
      Green ideology is so irrational that they would destroy modern farming if they could and have the majority of the population working out in the fields as peasants as was the case a hundred years ago .
      They have never worked out that food is so much cheaper in real terms than hundred years ago and this is a great benefit to all mankind .
      Burning wood pellets for power generation is only be the start of stupidity .
      Just watch this space in the countries that have green leaning governments .

      • red, grey, blue, white or whatever color politician will destroy any countries economy that they are allowed to meddle wit just as well, unfortunately.

      • You just laid out the UN Agenda 2030. The new buzz word heard round the world is sustainability. Royal elites at the top and the rest of you out in the fields I’m 74 and would be considered useless and disposable at age 80, something that is already happening in a couple of EU countries.

      • Well, y’know, folks. It is simply a natural fact that governments need us but then when you get to the nitty gritty bottom line evaluation, we, the people have little to no real need for governments. Think eviction, not secession.

  6. Eric likes to drive these anti-wood-use stories.
    While I agree on the unintended consequences greens over and over again bump into, I really, really hate it when you spread this message.
    For example (quoting Brendan Montague, emphasis mine)

    The biomass industry and government argue that because wood is a renewable source of energy and trees can be replanted to reabsorb carbon dioxide this policy is good for the environment.

    Yeah, industry. The people who actually know what they talk about.
    it is not a fracking ‘can’. At least here
    – Replanting is a legal obligation, not a ‘can’. Yeah, socialism.
    – It is followed on, and when doesn’t happen, is implemented by the forest government on the expense of the land-owner.
    – The forest government may decide to clear-cut and replant land-owner’s land if it considers that the forest is, after logging, in a state where it does not grow (yeah, more socialism)
    – Well kept forest produces wood (and capture carbon) at a good pace. Untouched natural reserves do not produce any, but they could produce methane.
    – It is not as there’s a forest and we’d just consume it. There are forests of different ages, and mature forests do not produce any wood. We need to log and replant to make mature ones produce anything.
    – In my country, there’s more wood in the forest now than ever was in the 20th century.. I’m pretty certain it is difficult to find a historical time when there was more wood than now.
    – I own some forest; the area grows wood so vigorously replanting would not be necessary, but of course, by replanting you’ll get some return on investment because the obligation makes the startup faster.
    – The fact I own some, doesn’t make me rich. This is a Nordic socialism, so basically the government makes sure industry gets it wood at low enough price.
    What I hate is clear-cutting and not replanting to build a wind power plant area. That’s waste.
    There’s nothing wrong in burning wood for energy when done well. There are some limitations, and it can’t replace coal, because there are so many people needing so much energy, but there’s no reason to attack it over and over again. The question is about optimizing, not about replacing coal.

      • I’m not sarcastic. If you disagree, tell me where. The industry actually knows something green twerps don’t. They are doing money, so you must be careful with their message, but these days, they try to stick to facts because they’d be crucified for lying or misleading.

      • No, actually, he’s got a point. A good point. This is why issues that I have are the costs and emissions associated with transport. Also, scalability is a big issue that never seems to get addressed. In North America and Europe, forests have been returning in a big way due to improvements in agriculture requiring less land and the fact that we no longer burn wood as our primary source of heat. It is a very simple fact that there isn’t nearly enough land to provide a fraction of our power from wood combustion, even if we turned entire states into tree farms.

      • Nah: He just needs some good ol’ global warming. Cold has induced distortions into his thinking processes.

    • It found that to burn an amount of wood pellets that would generate the same amount of electricity as coal it would actually produce roughly eight percent more carbon.

      Sure yes, but the point is that when you make space to the forest, the other trees have space to grow more and faster than they’d do without the forestry. The cycle for pellets is something like 30 years from CO2 to pellets, and back.
      Logging in a forest is not just ‘eating a cake’. It is also ‘making a cake’. This is something city-dwellers don’t get (they’re not daft, but they fly over, so don’t know about these things). If you don’t do forestry, i.e. log, the wood will not grow. I should know, my forest is too full of slim trees dying as they didn’t have room to grow.

      • It also produes more actual Polution as well.
        There is absolutely Zero benefit to burning wood over burning coal.

      • To A C Osborn:
        That’s an oversimplification. I was tempted to ignore but when I see “absolutely” used incorrectly, I find it hard to resist commenting.
        I happen to live on a parcel of land with enough trees growing that I can cull some of the less desirable trees and use them for a substantial portion of my winter heating needs. The remaining trees continue to grow and the culling actually helps him grow faster. I don’t dispute that it may produce more CO2 (not carbon) than the comparable amount of coal but, despite looking, I haven’t found a coal deposit on my property.
        I realize my example doesn’t scale very well but I reject the notion that burning wood is never a viable option.

    • Hugs
      And whilst undertaken honestly and efficiently, everything you say is true.
      But my late father in law was a Senior U.N. Foresters who presided over national forestry projects in countries such as Nigeria, Cuba, Peru etc. And the problem isn’t commercial loggers who treat their commodities as farmers treat their crops. It’s the lack of fossil fuel powered power stations which necessitates ‘illegal loggers who clear cut entire forests to provide rudimentary firewood to villages, towns and cities because they have no electricity.
      Farmers take the opportunity to cultivate the infertile soil behind the ‘illegal’ loggers, but without fertilizers produced using reliable, dispatchable electricity, the soil is exhausted within 3 years, so they move on after the loggers and the land left as dust bowls.
      This is undertaken on an industrial scale across the planet where green policies ban the building of FF power stations by restrictive international finance.
      One other problem is, the loggers are condemned as illegal, but in their regions, they are a necessity, supplying a very real demand. Without them, millions would die, so despite what the world believes, no one is stopping them.
      Whilst you live in a sophisticated, wealthy country that can afford to manage forest resources, over 50% of the rest of the world can’t.
      The claim from Drax is also that they only use timber from forests that require clearing for the very reasons you cite. However, there is considerable evidence that isn’t true and that productive forests are now being felled to provide for its gargantuan appetite.
      The theory and intent may be honourable, but the reality is somewhat less savoury.

      • Absolutely you’re right about these countries. So what should be regulated is import of pellets, or actually, forest use in some countries that are very corrupt. Unfortunately, underdeveloped and corrupt countries are beyond repair in this sense. Sometimes I think Italy is beyond repair.
        What I meant is you should not attact against using wood as such. But just using it unresponsibly.

        • Hugs
          I think what should really be done is to allow the Western world to finance FF power stations in the developing world, helping them to develop and grow. This also has the additional benefit of slowing population growth.
          Instead, the Chinese are filling the void by financing, I believe, over 1,000 coal fired power stations across the globe, including 700 in China itself.
          It’s insanity the Western world continues to ignore this and burns wood pellets instead.

      • And to even let more rope to you. It is better Brazil and Nigeria use coal, than that they destroy their forests possibly permanently. The issue with this is that Brendan M. could not attack forestry (or lack of good forestry) in Brazil, but needs to find a white man to blame. Which is found in the Nordic countries.

    • But did not the Greeks and Romans harvest and continually re..harvest the forests in what used to be a green, fertile N.Africa that it has since become desert?! Duh!

  7. Imagine an all-Drax British power system. Britain’s current population is roughly 65 million.
    Now imagine cloning that for the Chinese. China;’s population is roughly 1.3 billion. So there are 20 Chinese for every Brition.
    Clone again in India , roughly the same population as China and you’d be cutting wood for pellets for another 20 Indian citizens x 65 million.
    But never mind. We could just cut down Siberia, right?

    • Lee L
      Well illustrated.
      The greens would, of course, poo poo it and say the answer lies in diverse energy provision e.g. reliable Drax type power stations supported by relable Hydro (which they don’t consider green, but never mind), unreliable wind turbines, unreliable solar and undeveloped wave and tidal power with horrendously expensive, and short lived battery storage WHEN everything else fails.
      People quite rightly stopped producing their own rudemantry energy, quite rightly, as efficient electricity grids grew and provided cheap, centralised, fossil fuel generated electricity. Current policies are driving consumers back into the 19th Century, forcing them to generate their own local energy again.
      Stupidity piled on insanity.

      • Somewhere in this exchange, a future that is a rather grim picture starts to coalesce and emerge.

  8. It seems immoral for a government to subsidise a process, on environmental grounds, that involves cutting down trees in another part of the world.

    • Agreed Susan – but note that most UK green energy subsidies (can’t soeak) for the rest of the world) don’t go through the central government tax pot – they go straight onto our energy bills. UK bills even detail this (or should).
      So, it’s now UK consumers who can directly look at their own immorality, should they do choose.

    • Good point. Shipping pellets from a third world country (like the US) is immoral 🙂
      I have here a very strict legislation, but importing pellets from Brazil (or letting Brazil to use pellets to get a good-will green pass) would be stupid.

      • Well, all the johnny-come-lately carpetbaggers are doing their damnedest to turn Virginia into a piece of crap like their places of origin…

    • Dave, I thought the same when I first saw it, but after further review I decided it could be Virginia creeper. It is sometimes difficult to tell the difference without being able to get a clear leaf count. But then again, the dude with the saw may be an actor who doesn’t know he difference…… He may think it’s kudzu.

  9. Once agsin climate skeptics are proven correct:
    Burning trees to make industrial power is a sham “climate” strategy.

    • All tree..felling has its incumbent dangers, but ……
      For Drax, as I understand it, tree..felling is industrial, and akin to combine..harvesting wheat in a field. In short, CLEAR..CUT!!! Look at the vid..clips, and YOU WILL BE SHOCKED!!

      • @ Ross …yes, that is true. I worked 6 seasons as a chokesetter, and aided timber fallers a number of times. The biggest tree which I ever felled was a 140 foot Douglas Fir, 38 inch diameter at the cut. I would never get anywhere near a person who handled a chainsaw as that man is doing, nor would any professional logger from California, Oregon, or Washington St.
        I came within seconds of dying two times while working as a chokesetter. Once I was almost cut in two at the waist by the carelessness of another. The second time, again due to someone’s carelessness, I got chased down a steep mountain side by a 60,000 pound rolling pin. The only thought which I had as I tumbled and spun down that sleep slope was that I was about to die. Then my big mistake was going home and sharing the story with my wife.

      • I think there are several reasons to suspect this guy may be a model or actor who was hired to “look pretty” handling the nice chain saw,. If he is actually cutting the tree from where he is standing, I hope he has on his “go fast” boots for when the tree starts to fall,.

      • May just be using the tip of the chain bar to deepen the wedge, before making the main cut on the opposite side. The tree would then fall in the direction of the wedge, away from the cutter.

      • @ drednicolson …that is a very poor example of cutting the wedge. The upper face was cut improperly. Plus running your bar in like that, if you did not get your face cut correctly in the first place typically results in the tree setting down on the bar of the chainsaw. That is not a desirable result. Then it is wedge and sledge time, or get the spare chainsaw out to try and save the day.

  10. Wkllis: ” Industrial grade idiocy….” my thoughts precisely. I wonder how much diesel is burned in logging, processing and shipping this stuff?

  11. A special note re-dedicated to Justin Trudeau (Climate Ken), Catherine McKenna (Climate Barbie), Kathleen Wynn, Rachel Notley, and all the other phony-green politicians in Canada and elsewhere:
    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/03/03/bombshell-russian-propaganda-attack-against-us-fossil-fuel-interests/comment-page-1/#comment-2757018
    Anti fossil fuels, anti pipelines, anti fracking, anti oilsands, pro green energy, etc. etc. – all promoted by the same people, all deliberately harming our economies while wrapping themselves in the cloak of phony environmentalism.
    These people are not pro-environment – many of their programs such as clear-cutting of tropical rainforests to grow biofuels, draining the Ogallala aquifer to grow corn for fuel ethanol, clear-cutting eastern US forests to provide wood pellets for British power plants, erecting huge wind power towers to slice up birds and bats, etc are ALL anti-environmental.
    Their successful efforts to delay and ban fracking of petroleum-rich shales have caused great harm in Britain, continental Europe , and have hampered growth in Canada and the USA. Their successful efforts to shut-in the oilsands through anti-pipeline lies have cost Canada tens of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs.
    By driving up the cost of energy and causing instability in electrical grids they have increased winter mortality and cost lives. Even greater loss of life has been caused in developing countries, where the installation of reliable fossil-fueled energy has been displaced by insistence on intermittent, near-worthless wind and solar power schemes.
    Perhaps the greatest cost and loss-of-life has been due to the gross misallocation of global resources, where obvious first priorities such as clean water and sanitation systems, the fight against malaria, and the fight against world hunger have been displaced due to excessive spending on green energy follies.
    These are crimes against humanity – they should be prosecuted and the scoundrels and imbeciles who promoted this nonsense should go to jail.

    • Since you’re doing the math, factor in the reduced costs of elder care.
      You can bet the British pols are pushing that pencil.

      • You are correct Alan.
        Preliminary estimates suggest that Excess Winter Deaths in Britain this winter totaled about 48,000, or about HALF that of the average for the USA, a country with FIVE times the population of Britain. This means that the Excess Winter Mortality Rate in Britain this year is about 2.5 times the average rate for the USA. Why?
        I warned of these needless Excess Winter Deaths of British elderly and poor people years ago – some examples are included below from 2013 and 2015.
        When misinformed politicians fool with energy systems, innocent people suffer and die. That is the tragic consequence of false global warming alarmism.
        ___________________
        HERE ARE TWO ARTICLES ON THE 48,000 EXCESS WINTER DEATHS IN BRITAIN THIS YEAR:
        48,000 BRITS DEAD AFTER WORST WINTER IN 42 YEARS
        Hayley Coyle, Daily Star, 7 April 2018
        https://thegwpf.us4.list-manage.com/track/click?u=c920274f2a364603849bbb505&id=cc6bacc6dd&e=da89067c4f
        The UK is being hit by its worst winter death toll in 42 years. It is estimated that 20,275 Brits more than average died between December and March. It means this winter is set to total at least 48,000 deaths due to cold weather – which works out at an average of one death every three and a half minutes. Campaigners have called the deaths a “national tragedy” as cold weather victims fatalities could be prevented – especially in the elderly. –Hayley Coyle, Daily Star, 7 April 2018
        DELINGPOLE: 48,000 BRITONS DIED OF COLD THIS WINTER; UK GOVERNMENT PRAISES CLIMATE POLICY WHICH HELPED KILL THEM
        http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/04/09/delingpole-48000-britons-died-of-cold-this-winter-uk-government-praises-climate-policy-which-helped-kill-them/
        Unlike most of the things climate campaigners worry about, these dead people aren’t theoretical projections derived from dodgy computer models. These are real people – brothers, sisters, grandparents, great-grandparents – who might well have lived a few more years longer than they did if the cost of heating their homes hadn’t been artificially driven up by government policy. Cold is a much bigger killer for humans than heat. –James Delingpole, Breitbart News, 9 April 2018
        _____________________________________
        Seasonal flu contributes significantly to winter deaths, but here is the big question:
        WHY ARE EXCESS WINTER DEATH RATES SO MUCH HIGHER IN BRITAIN THAN IN CANADA, THE USA AND SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRIES?
        I suggest it is failure to adapt – poor home insulation, poor home heating systems, etc., and MUCH HIGHER ENERGY COSTS DUE TO GREEN ENERGY NONSENSE.
        Due primarily to intermittency, green energy is not green and produces little useful energy. We first published this conclusion in 2002.
        These are the same foolish green energy schemes that Obama and Hillary wanted for the USA, and Climate Ken (aka Mr Dressup aka J Trudeau), Climate Barbie (aka C McKenna) and other scoundrels and imbeciles want for Canada.
        When misinformed politicians fool with energy systems, innocent people suffer and die.
        Regards, Allan
        _________________________________________________
        I PREDICTED THIS EXCESS WINTER DEATH DEBACLE several times on wattsupwiththat:
        HERE IN 2013
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/10/31/blind-faith-in-climate-models/#comment-1462890
        An Open Letter to Baroness Verma
        AND HERE IN 2015
        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/11/20/terrorism-and-a-cold-winter-refugee-crisis/#comment-2076001
        Excerpt:
        “Contrary to popular belief, Earth is colder-than-optimum for human survival. A warmer world, such as was experienced during the Roman Warm Period and the Medieval Warm Period, is expected to lower winter deaths and a colder world like the Little Ice Age will increase winter mortality, absent adaptive measures. These conclusions have been known for many decades, based on national mortality statistics.
        ,,,
        In Europe, where green energy schemes have been widely implemented, the result is higher energy costs that are unaffordable for the elderly and the poor, and increased winter deaths. European politicians are retreating from highly-subsidized green energy schemes and returning to fossil fuels. When misinformed politicians fool with energy systems, innocent people suffer and die.”
        Joe d’Aleo and I wrote this article on Excess Winter Mortality in 2015:
        https://friendsofsciencecalgary.files.wordpress.com/2015/09/cold-weather-kills-macrae-daleo-4sept2015-final.pdf
        Regards, Allan

    • Carbon dioxide fertilization is one of the reasons every fracking corner here pushes new bushes and I”ll tell you, over-fliers know nothing about how much it takes to keep a place looking like it’s not desolate.
      I’m fully scared about a possible future where logging is limited and burning wood as pellets and firewood is forbidden or made unfeasible with green socialism. Over-fliers are eagerly creating nature reserves, not letting things develop, in particular if it is economically viable.

  12. The theory is that biomass can be replaced by more biomass so it’s sustainable The UK produces at most 2GW from biomass. Not a lot in the scheme of things and certainly stupid to transport across the Atlantic. http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/
    The fact is that burning coal provides even more carbon that can be captured as biomass. There are plenty of places on earth to grow more biomass. Where there’s a will there’s a way.

    • …..For some interesting reading in the form of thoughtful essays, do an internet search on “The death of Democracy,.” I think we may be seeing the beginning of its death throes. So-called democracy as we have it in the hands of our current Western political parties is little other than soft Communism.
      Think eviction, not secession.

  13. I’m very glad this has popped up on WUWT. I watched, and recorded, the Channel 4 programme the other night. At least it was honest – and simply confirmed all that I already knew about the insanity of what the British government is doing in the name of (that dreaded phrase) climate change. I hope a lot of people watched it, and who previously didn’t know what is going on, and learned something.

  14. In the city of Melbourne a few years ago I noticed a London plane tree with the branches trimmed, the trunk and remaining branch stubs wrapped in bandages (by an “artist”), and the base surrounded by bouquets of flowers, and notes from school children mourning its death! The artist named her heart-wrenching masterpiece “triage”:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/image/4778274-3×4-340×453.jpg
    When I called the council to get an explanation, I was transferred to the resident arborist, who informed me that some mysterious evildoer had poisoned it, probably “by drilling a hole in the trunk and injecting it.”
    “But what about the flowers?,” I asked, with a note of pseudo-sadness in my voice. “Why is it ok to murder perfectly innocent flowers, but not trees? Doesn’t this send a mixed message to our children?”
    A month later, when everyone had finished grieving, and with healthy new growth popping out from under the bandages, the council sent men with cherry-pickers and chainsaws to cut down the tree.
    But they also cut down a perfectly healthy, undamaged plane tree immediately next to it, both being an an impediment to a high-rise development by “vision apartments” on Elizabeth st.
    That part of the story was never told.

    • The living xylem and phloem are adjacent to the bark and sap. The heartwood is essentially dead tissue, so injecting it with anything won’t do any good (or any bad). That so-called arborist must have slept through botany class on the day they covered that.
      Want to kill a tree for real? Strip a complete ring of bark from around the trunk, and use fire to cauterize the “wound” and stop any sap flow. Colonial era knowledge.

  15. Let me present my own experience few years back.
    Government gave permission to establish biomass power plants. They are supposed to use crop waste in this process. However, I noticed as a member of Pollution Control Board Task Force, they were using wood [fruit trees and other village trees]. Then we ordered to stop the production and get certificate on the fuel used.
    Second issue was, in Hyderabad City, household waste was used to produce pellets. But the company found that nobody interested to buy the pellets as the calorific value of the pellets lower than the coal. Then he asked for power production but it was not agreed by the government.
    Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

  16. It is an expensive exercise to ship wood pellets to England and the entire biomass debate being hijacked by the “carbon pollution” label. There are several aspects to “denuding” forests in the US.
    https://vtdigger.org/2013/05/29/facing-climate-change-vermonts-biggest-polluters/
    In the northern tier of the US and along the spine of the Appalachians forests have reclaimed much of what was cleared in the 19th century for small farms. In Vermont most of our hillsides were denuded by sheep and dairy cow grazing and are almost unrecognizable in pictures of the early 20th century. The accelerated movement off small farms since WWII has allowed the forest to reclaim all of that pasture. It is to the point where the Vermont State Agency of Natural Resources encourages land owners to keep some of the pasture cleared for wildlife habitat. It is an endless battle. I bush hog our old hill farm pasture every three years and it is not frequent enough and it really needs to be bush hogged every two years. Keeping the forest at bay is like trying to sweep back the ocean tide.
    We have more than enough wood to keep two wood chip power plants operating at 95% capacity – the 50 MW McNeil power plant in Burlington and the 20 MW plant in Ryegate. The fracking revolution and rapid shift to inexpensive natural gas power plants across New England have undercut all previous generation power production facilities so that the wood chip power plants have been operating well above the cost of ISO New England’s natural gas plants and could not operate without subsidies. However, the February ISO New England briefing identifies the concern of depending on a single fuel type power supply.
    https://www.iso-ne.com/static-assets/documents/2018/02/02272018_pr_presentation_state-of-the-grid_2018.pdf
    http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/green-mountain-power-cost-of-electricity-c-kwh
    At the home owner level we do not have access to natural gas and the bizarre Vermont green politics try to prevent pipelines from being built for natural gas. We can use oil, propane or wood. Wood is the cheapest for the homeowner and we currently pay about $9-10/million BTU’s for wood heat. That requires moving 15,000 pounds of wood several times a year and is a component of my personal fitness regime. Heating oil is a high density fuel but has suffered from fuel contaminants so that the burner needs frequent maintenance. Propane is cleaner burning and with newer boilers 95% efficient but is a low density fuel and we changed over to propane several years ago. At this winter’s prices it would cost $22.90 /million BTU’s to heat our home.

    • Yes, wood heat is a lot less expensive than propane per heat unit. After accounting for the greater inefficiency of the wood heat compared to propane where does that put you comparing costs?

      • Vince: That is not an easy question to answer because like everything else the manufacturer’s efficiency claims are going to vary considerably based on the real world installation and temperature profiles. I use 75% as a rough estimate for judging my wood heating efficiency. In northern Vermont temperatures down to -30F to -35F are not unusual as we experienced this last winter during December and early January. In those temperatures the Buderus GB142 condensing boiler (95% claimed efficiency) cannot keep up and is used in backup mode. Brute force heat is the only way to keep up even with solid masonry walls insulated with expansion foam (12″ wall thickness) and new high efficiency windows. On the other hand heating with wood above the mid 30’s in the Jotul woodstove (73% claimed efficiency) and anything above freezing in the TARM furnace (above 80% claimed efficiency) is inefficient so I let the Buderus handle what little heating is required and to heat the domestic hot water above those temperatures – typically between the end of April and the end of September. As I write it is snowing with temperatures in the 30’s and the TARM just kicked on to heat the hot water tank. The cost savings of wood with the earlier backup oil burner was about $2,000/year. Even with the Buderus boiler’s higher efficiency and propane’s much lower price the cost saving burning wood is still about $1,200/year.
        Heating with wood does require tinkering and in the coldest temperatures the wood stove and furnace consume seasoned hard wood at an extraordinary rate. The TARM is a 140,000 BTU wood gasification furnace with air forced into the combustion tunnel to achieve 1,800F combustion temperatures. The furnace is 2,600 pounds of steel with 72 gallons of water and the 3,200 lb mass is heated to 190F. During the bitterly cold days between December and March the baseboard hot water system has a lot of heated mass to draw on. The retained heat in the boiler heats the entire below grade basement zone to 63F with the boiler kicking on only when I bring loads of wood into the basement from the woodshed. The 50,000 BTU Jotul wood stove is on the main floor and is set into a 7’x7′ brick and stone fireplace, which when burned 24 hours a day in mid-winter, retains enough heat to coast through the night. The masonry mass raises the heating efficiency above the 73% quoted.On the coldest nights the main floor zone kicks on the TARM only a couple of times during the night.
        This is a long answer to what appears to be a simple question but heating with wood in this climate is more of an art than what appears to be a straight forward construction and heating design problem.
        Keith

  17. A very large percentage of ‘Green’ energy is the credit taken for the renewable energy of pulp and paper plants that rely almost or wholly on burning of bark and wood waste created in the manufacture of paper. Using this as proof of ‘Green Energy’ when it is simply a common sense usage of what would otherwise be waste product is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst.

  18. As long as we turn our backs on nuclear power, we must burn something to generate the baseload power that we need to live our lives because of the facts of physics that the sun doesn’t shine 24×7 and the wind doesn’t always blow. It is just stupid to burn something that has a high value human use, like food, or competes with the production of those things, like GMO corn, when we could burn something that has low value instead. Like coal.
    But the people who advocate that the earth is improved by sending ship-loads of ground up forest to a power plant 1/3 of the way around the world, are far more concerned about appearing to care about the planet than they are about caring for any other thing. Their virtue signals are of the highest quality known to humanity.

  19. The Brita are still exploiting their colonies.
    On a serious note; some level of forest disturbance is actually beneficial to mega-fauna such as deer, as it facilitates pioneer species growth favorable to browsing.

  20. “Dozens of scientists
    It found that to burn an amount of wood pellets that would generate the same amount of electricity as coal it would actually produce roughly eight percent more carbon.”

    Carbon? The process does not produce carbon.
    It may produce soot, CO2 and many more, but not so much carbon.
    C is not equal CO2 but in the confused green minds.

  21. Where is GreenPeace when you need some good arsonist activity, equipment sabotage, and some good old tire slashing?

  22. Wait…they are using trees for wood?! Why can’t they just buy the wood at a lumber store like the rest of us?
    (Slight variation of the “Why are they killing cattle for beef when they can just buy it at the grocery store” rant)

  23. Drax… isn’t it Doctor ax? makes sense.
    Now they have plenty of open space for solar farm. And, double bonus: since forest are know to prompt rain, those farm will have more sun.
    Keep up the good work Drax!

  24. The true goal of the climate change scam is to destroy the fossil fuel industry and all of it’s wealth. Once they have achieved that, expect a takeover of the remaining devalued assets by those pushing the climate change apocalypse scenario (Steyer, Soros, Buffett, Chinese Communist Oligarchs, etc). Then “new technology” will be discovered which will enable them to reintroduce the use of fossil fuels “safely”.

  25. The picture in the article is a pine tree being cut down. Here in Georgia we have about 25 million acres of commercial forests grown specifically to be harvested. Most of that is pine trees. If Drax is burning pine pellets, I have no issue with it.
    Take away the consumers and those 25 million acres will be put to an alternate use. I’d much rather it stay forest.

  26. They sent a reporter to Virginia who “saw” vast acres being cut? You can’t see such a thing, it is distributed all over the place. And why is it ok to cut pine but not hardwoods? Most hardwoods sprout from stumps or have seeds/seedlings and the forest pops back in no time. You cannot destroy a hardwood forest by cutting it down. I have seen stump sprouts greater than 10 feet tall (black locust) or 5 feet tall (oaks) in 1 year after cutting. There is a funny thing where it is sort of ok to cut trees to make furniture but not to make pellets but in either case you are making money.
    Of course, who could have forseen that if you build a biomass plant people would need wood? Well, the enviros did because they imagined that a plant would be able to use just “waste” wood but there is no such thing. Tops take too much work to collect after logging and the waste at a sawmill or paper mill goes either to make particle board or they burn it to make electricity at the plant.

    • ya but the costs of transportation across the Atlantic defeats the whole purpose. The English people near the Drax plant are paying big subsidies just to satisfy the EU and the greenies. We need more CO2 in the atmosphere NOT less.

  27. Ecology is a chink in the alarmist message. Destruction of habitat and direct injury to wildlife from bio-fuels, solar and wind are real and easy to document. Sites like Grist and Thinkprogress are already against Drax destroying our forest land, even Carbonbrief looks ripe to come over to our way of thinking. Local chapters of Sierra Club and Audubon are beginning to raise their voices against the insanity too.
    Here we have armchair ecologists who are waking up to painful realization that they allowed themselves to be hornswoggled into believing burning trees would somehow be better than hugging them.
    Drax Power wood consumption and the absurd UK polices that created it is like the movie “The Little Shop of Horrors”, it’s a REAL menace to forest habitat and must be stopped.
    Coal is what saved forests from complete destruction over 100 years ago, how can abandoning coal now not simply resurrect the same problem all over again? How long before this Drax madness turns your backyard into a Pennsylvania Desert? I don’t want to wait to find out; petition Trump and Congress to end all US wood exports destined to be used for fuel.

  28. The guy in the picture with the chainsaw felling the tree has an awful undercut. Knows about as much falling trees as most of the lame commenters here today on biomass. Using Drax as the comparison for an entire global industry is stupid. Sure, transporting biomass pellets across an ocean to feed a coal plant that sits atop a coal mine is stupid. But that doesn’t make all biomass globally bad. Most of the pellets made are from wood waste that would have been up in smoke in Bee Hive burners 20 years ago. Just stupid…almost as stupid as the stupid CAGW’ers.

  29. Pines are grown commercially like any other crop. As long as Drax is using pines we should have no problem. And clear cutting is no problem since the forest will be replanted and regrown.
    When I’ve looked at the Drax pellet from the US bit, I couldn’t find any real CO2 savings if you included the harvesting, processing and shipping and not just burning a lower density fuel in England.

    • Drax is not using pines. They’re cutting hardwoods growing in wetland habitats – the same areas that most of us are not allowed to cut down even when they are growing on our own property such as here in Massachusetts; AKA “conservation land”. Such swampy marshy places were among the last refuges left untouched for wildlife to be left alone but then along came the lie that CO2 controls global temperature.
      The hypocrisy of the left is them screaming out of one side of their mouth that global warming is caused by more CO2 and that it is causing more wildfires – and out of the other side that burning trees as fuel will reduce CO2.
      The idea is downright asinine and far more expensive than coal anyway. If not for UK government subsidies few people could afford the cost of electricity from wood and this “idea” would already have died on its own.

      • …..And the subsidies are contributing to budget deficits…..which will have to be repaid from economies that have been ransacked by applied stupidity.

  30. If the man in the photo is actually falling that tree then he is definitely muti-tasking. Suiciding and destroying the chain saw simaltaneously.

    • ” destroying the chain saw” Looks like it was staged for the photograph – no smoke & no chips.

    • Fee-fi-fo-fum,
      I smell the blood of an Englishman,
      Be he living, or be he dead,
      I’ll grind his bones to mix my bread.
      P.S. They even (wilfully) pay a TV tax without much protest. Fee-fi-fo-fum…

  31. Why is any of this a surprise to anyone?
    The Greenbeans/CAGWers really ARE that stupid, stupid enough to believe that burning wood is less harmful in any way at all than using fossil fuels or nuclear power, and this proves it. I do not believe that there is one working brain cell in the bunch.
    So why is anyone AT ALL surprised by the news that these ridiculously uninformed, intentionally ignorant people finally woke out of their fog?

  32. I know of examples her in the US where mature forests were taken down for solar panels.

    • The portions of the southeastern US suitable for farming were largely deforested by the mid-nineteenth century, with wood serving as the primary fuel for river boats and trains and providing the revenue needed to clear vast swaths of land. After the switch to coal, much of the southeast slowly returned to forest land with a significant percentage becoming softwood plantations.
      We then spent a generation trying to save old-growth stands on ridge lines all along the eastern US, only to see the wind turbine industry clear them to build service roads, electric connections and the ugly noisy towers precisely along the ridges which were preserved. Meanwhile demand from Drax and similar schemes lead to increased cutting of both softwood and hardwood lots. Someone needs to save the planet from those who would destroy it in the cause of saving it.

  33. A forest normally is carbon neutral. Some trees get rotten. And the growth will stop because of density.
    The trick is to maintain a forest with the same amount of biomass and to harvest the surplus. The best way is to cut only old trees. Younger trees in the shadows of those will suddenly “explode” in growth and replace the old ones.
    Firs can get hundred years old and have only 2″ in diameter, if they are grown in the shadow of an old one.
    Generally, young forests are producing more mass per year and area. There are willow plantations you harvest every five years, being up to 10 meters high. They will grow again out of the root.
    If on likes to sequester CO2 he should use fast-growing trees and use them for long-living houses, furniture and boats. The remains could be used for wood chips or firewood.

  34. Destroying the environment to save the environment is so daft that it leaves me with no respect at all for the loonies that make and promote the laws that allow this travesty to happen.

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