By Dana Smith, October 9, 2012. Source: Dogwood Alliance
Note: Dogwood Alliance is a long-time ally of GJEP, and works with GJEP on the steering committee for the Stop GE Trees Campaign.
At a time when scientific evidence is mounting that burning trees for electricity will actually result in increased carbon emissions when compared to coal over the next 30 to 50 years, utilities in Europe are making a mad dash to convert coal burning power plants to wood, all in the name of “renewable energy.” The recent explosion in the use of wood to generate electricity in Europe has resulted in the proliferation of new mills across the US South that are turning whole trees into wood pellets for export to European utility companies. That’s right. Forests in the US South are being logged, turned into wood pellets and shipped across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe all in the name of “green energy.”
In what felt like a full on Southern forest assault, in September, a multitude of new projects were announced that will help take tree burning to a whole new level. Between September 18th and September 24th four new wood pellet manufacturing facilities were announced, one in South Carolina and three in Georgia. Just two days later on September 26th a port expansion project was announced in Moorhead City, North Carolina, for the stated purpose of supporting the growing wood pellet export market to Europe. New companies with catchy green-sounding names like “Enviva” and “Enova Energy” are popping up out of nowhere, staking their positions as leading suppliers of “sustainable, “renewable” energy. Heck, even the word “biomass” sounds kind of green, so it’s no wonder that the German utility company RWE that owns the biggest wood pellet facility in the South has branded it as simply, “Georgia Biomass”. When you click on their website the first thing you notice is a tree coming out of the logo next to the words “We’re Carbon Neutral.”