“Students are having fun learning about bioenergy and bioderived products at #BioenergyDay — ’til 5pm today at UT Arboretum” (via Twitter – photos below)
Today, we recognize the fifth annual Bioenergy Day in the United States. You may be asking yourself, “What is bioenergy?” A simple definition from Merriam-Webster says bioenergy is used for industrial or commercial purposes and is sourced from biological origins, such as plant matter.
In Arkansas, our most abundant bioenergy sources are trees, which provide woody biomass that can be used to fuel power plants around the world. Among the benefits of bioenergy such as woody biomass, are the minimal environmental impacts. The EPA said in 2009, “The CO2 emitted from biomass-based fuels combustion does not increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations, assuming the biogenic carbon emitted is offset by the uptake of CO2 resulting from the growth of new biomass.”
In Arkansas, not only do we provide the fuel for bioenergy from woody biomass, but we also have facilities that use bioenergy. One such facility is the Potlach plant in Warren, which has an 8.7 megawatt capacity, according to the Biomass Power Association.
Another facility, also in the Fourth Congressional District, is Highland Pellets in Pine Bluff. The new multi-million dollar facility will produce the pellets used in bioenergy facilities around the world, sourcing their products from woody biomass found right here in Arkansas.
The Biomass Power Association estimates that 5.75% of the nation’s total energy supply comes from bioenergy and provides full-time jobs for tens of thousands of Americans. While the economy has struggled to grow since 2008, bioenergy has been expanding rapidly, adding more capacity with facilities like Highland in Pine Bluff. With this, more and more Americans are going to work in a forestry-related industry, whether it be for logging companies, nurseries, or bioenergy providers.
In Arkansas, the state’s forestry association estimates a total economic impact of $6.3 billion, with more than 28,000 people employed across the industry. Total payroll in the forestry industry in Arkansas is about $1.46 billion. In a state with an ever-increasing number of forested acres, forestry keeps our state healthy using sound scientific practices while also keeping our economy strong.
As we mark National Bioenergy Day 2017, be mindful of the impact bioenergy has on Arkansas. Chances are, you have been positively affected by bioenergy in the Natural State.
“25x’25 Alliance partners are among the dozens of businesses, schools, government agencies and advocacy organizations around the United States and Canada observing the Fifth Annual Bioenergy Day today, staging events that recognize the economic and environmental benefits of using organic materials – biomass – to produce heat, power and fuels,” said Bart Ruth, alliance chairman. “While aimed at educating local residents and stakeholders on bioenergy and how it contributes locally to forest health and economic productivity, the message is also one that policy makers at the local, state and federal levels need to hear to ensure bioenergy in all of its forms is given the optimum opportunity to contribute to our nation’s energy strategy.
“While strong efforts are underway to document the lower carbon benefits of sustainably produced biomass, bioenergy still faces constant and self-serving criticism from fossil fuel interests that are desperately seeking to hold on to their share of the market. The individuals and groups out today are casting a very important spotlight on this import sector and the contributions it makes to the nation’s energy security and the economic benefits it provides to rural America.”
25x’25 is a diverse alliance of agricultural, forestry, environmental, conservation and other organizations and businesses that are working collaboratively to advance the goal of securing 25 percent of the nation’s energy needs from renewable sources by the year 2025. 25x’25 is led by an executive committee composed of volunteer leaders. The 25x’25 goal has been endorsed by nearly 1,000 partners, 35 current and former governors, 15 state legislatures and the U.S. Congress through The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. 25x’25 operates as a special project of Solutions from the Land, a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to land based solutions to global challenges.
LANSING — Today bioenergy industry groups, supply chain, partners and advocates across the country are celebrating the fifth annual National Bioenergy Day. Michigan Biomass and the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum (MCEF) have issued the following statements commemorating the immense economic and forest health benefits of biomass power in communities across the state:
“Michigan’s biomass facilities support hundreds of jobs across the supply chain, and bring in millions of dollars in tax revenue, helping to boost local economies in areas of the state that need it most,” said Larry Ward, executive director of MCEF. “Biomass also contributes to Michigan’s renewable energy goals, bringing the state closer to its 15% renewable portfolio standard.”
“Biomass power is a unique homegrown, baseload renewable energy source,” said Gary Melow, director of Michigan Biomass. “Biomass is made from local resources – leftovers from timber harvest and land management practices that are collected from our forests – and goes right back into communities to power homes and businesses with reliable energy, creating local jobs, and stabilizing the electric grid.”
“An ‘all of the above’ energy portfolio in Michigan must make use of biomass,” said Emily Pallarito, a MCEF Fellow. “Not only does biomass help provide reliable and affordable electricity to Michiganders, but the industry is a significant contributor to forest health as well. This helps to protect our abundant resources from wildfire and support our state’s ecotourism industry.”
To learn more about National Bioenergy Day, visit http://bioenergyday.com/. For updates in real time, follow @MCEF_MI and @MichiganBiomass on Twitter and use the hashtag #bioenergyday.
About MCEF: The Michigan Conservative Energy Forum is an organization comprised of conservatives who believe that Michigan should adopt a true “All of the Above” energy policy that includes an increase in our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency. MCEF believes encouraging diverse and clean energy production and reduced energy waste will create jobs and stimulate Michigan’s economy, reduce our reliance on foreign energy, improve our national security, and protect our valuable natural resources. http://www.micef.
About Michigan Biomass: Michigan Biomass is a coalition that advocates for the state’s wood-fired biomass power plants. For more information, please visithttp://www.michiganbiomass.
Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in recognition of Bioenergy Day, a day we celebrate natural renewable energy in America. On October 18th, organizations cross America will mark this special day by opening their doors to the public and highlighting how bioenergy is fueling America. Forest byproducts are a primary source of bioenergy, making my home state of Arkansas a leading producer in this field. Across the country, bioenergy keeps the lights on and so much more. Bioenergy produces just under 6% of the nation’s total energy supply and provides full-time jobs for tens of thousands of Americans, with more plants coming online in the near future. We need to do more research to find economical ways to harness the renewable energy in our abundant biomass, that we all too often continue to see going up in flames in wildfires. As we approach October 18th, I encourage all Americans to learn more about bioenergy, forest byproducts, and the environmental benefits derived from our natural resources.”
60 Organizations Participating in 50 Events in United States and Canada to Recognize the Benefits of Heat, Power and Fuels from Organic Materials
October 18, 2017 – Washington, DC – In honor of the Fifth Annual Bioenergy Day, 60 organizations across the United States and Canada are participating in events today to recognize the economic and environmental benefits of using organic materials (also known as biomass) to produce heat, power and fuels. Today, during National Forest Products Week, private businesses, state governments and universities are inviting local residents and stakeholders to learn more about bioenergy and how it contributes locally to forest health and economic productivity.
“Restoring healthy, resilient forests depends on strong forest products markets that include wood energy,” said U. S. Forest Service Chief Tony Tooke. “Thinning overcrowded forests, removing dead trees and using these fuels, as well as small, woody materials that burn easily, helps reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire and fosters healthier forests.”
Most bioenergy is made from organic materials that are byproducts from other industries and have no other use. Bioenergy plays a key role in forest health by providing a market for dead fibers that are cleared from forests to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic fires. By valuing materials that might otherwise go to waste, bioenergy often contributes to the economic well-being of farmers, foresters and landowners.
“From a festival in Tennessee, to a facility opening in Nebraska, to a public meeting in Alaska, people all over the country today are talking about bioenergy today, the Fifth Annual Bioenergy Day,” said Bob Cleaves, president of Biomass Power Association. “In the short time we’ve been organizing this event, it has tripled in size, and introduced thousands of Americans to bioenergy and its benefits. By putting to use otherwise useless or low value materials, we are all better off. Our forests are healthier, our communities have more jobs, and we provide a solution for the disposal of waste materials.”
“Firewood continues to be an essential energy and heating source in suburban and rural communities across North America,” said Jack Goldman, President & CEO of the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association. “HPBA members across Canada and the United States know the importance of bioenergy from wood heaters and their role in providing energy security and heating households.”
“On Bioenergy Day, I’d like to encourage all Americans and Canadians to heat locally!” said Stan Elliot, chairman of the Pellet Fuels Institute board of directors. “Our members make pellets from materials available in their nearby communities. While fossil fuel heating usually involves importing fuel from elsewhere, wood pellets are often made near the stores where they are sold. Heating with pellet fuels is a great way to save money and support your local forest products industry.”
“The biogas industry is proud to be a part of Bioenergy Day and the broad biomass industry,” said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council. “Biogas systems take organic material like food waste and animal manure and digest it in tanks to produce renewable natural gas and soil products. If we can get more people to care about recycling organic material, we could build the infrastructure that would turn that biomass into renewable energy and soil products while creating new jobs and investment.”
Each year, the U.S. Forest Service and Biomass Power Association collaborate on a video to highlight the role of bioenergy in a local economy. This year’s video featured Northwest Montana, showcasing the many ways that businesses and schools in the area use bioenergy to save money and utilize byproducts.
National Bioenergy Day sponsors include Biomass Power Association, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, Pellet Fuels Institute, U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, Hearth Patio and Barbecue Association, Biomass Thermal Energy Council and Biomass Magazine. To learn more, please visit www.bioenergyday.org.
For updates on National Bioenergy Day and news on biomass, follow @USABiomass on Twitter, or search for the hashtag #bioenergyday.
590 Hancock Road
Peterborough, NH 03458
Thank you so much for the invitation to today’s National Bioenergy Day Open House. Though I cannot join you for this fantastic event, please know my thoughts are with you as you recognize this critical energy source. Let me extend my thanks to Froling Energy for opening their doors to this community to demonstrate the many benefits that bioenergy provides on the local level. It is wonderful to see the success of renewable energy businesses that support a healthy forestry industry and create jobs in the Granite State.
Our state has a unique understanding of the need to conserve our environment while also responsibly harvesting our timber resources to support the vitality of both our economy and forests. As a member of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation and Forestry, I am proud to support legislation that will increase opportunities for the sale and use of forest products. To that end, I’m very excited to be an original cosponsor of the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act, a bipartisan bill that would create a 30% renewable energy tax credit for biomass thermal units in residential homes. Biomass and wood pellets are a critical piece of our move to a clean energy future, helping to curb the harmful effects of climate change, and keep more of our energy dollars right here in New Hampshire.
On behalf of New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District, I thank you all for coming out today and learning more about bioenergy. Thousands of American homes and business have installed stoves and other appliances powered by wood pellets, reducing their heating costs. As we work together to protect our planet, our state will continue to be a leader in this important industry.
Ann McLane Kuster
Member of Congress
Ash trees in Ogdensburg, New York, are being culled and used as biomass in order to mitigate a public safety hazard. The issue is intrinsically linked with a pest called the “Emerald Ash Borer,” which has been identified in neighboring counties. Ash Borer beetles kill infested trees, so a Borer population in Ogdensburg would mean hundreds of dead ash trees around city streets, posing a serious hazard to pedestrians.
The director of Public Works in Ogdensburg, Scott A. Thornhill, explained, “The trees will be cut down by the city or a contractor and added to our green waste pile, which is processed-chipped about once a year for biomass.”
After the ash trees are broken into wood chips, they will be transported to Fort Drum, a nearby Army post where a ReEnergy biomass-electricity plant will generate electricity using the city’s ash chips as fuel. The ReEnergy plant has been operational since 2012, when it took over a former coal-fired plant.
It is estimated that it will take 3-5 years to take down the 170 city ash trees that have been identified as particularly hazardous in case of an Emerald Ash Borer beetle infestation (i.e., “in the city rights-of-way, between the streets and the sidewalks,” etc.).
By culling ash trees, Ogdensburg is not only helping to protect its residents from potential injury and home/car damage, but also generating clean energy and fueling local industry.
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