Is our Energy Future Wood and Biomass?

When I first moved to Vermont in May 2008, I was surprised, given the “green” ethic of the state, that so many citizens and policy-makers supported burning wood for energy and especially promoted wood pellets for home heating. Now, I certainly understand the attraction—wood is a renewable resource, wood provides a state like Vermont with much more energy independence, and wood, for a host of reasons, feels like a better alternative than oil, the most common heating fuel in Vermont.

But…you still burn wood and it pollutes. At best, I’ve always viewed wood and biomass fuel as a short-term or second-best solution. For example, I’d love to have hydronic heat in my house, powered by wind and solar generated electricity. Now this article suggests that wood may be a worse polluter than coal.

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