Seth Ginther: Wood pellets create new market

October 14, 2013 

There was a lot of inaccurate information in the Sept 25 Point of View piece “Trees not trash; pellets not ‘green,’” but the writer did get one thing right: Demand for industrial wood pellets is “skyrocketing” as European utilities replace fossil fuels with carbon-beneficial biomass.

What’s driving this demand? Europeans know that biomass produces less carbon and fewer pollutants than coal. Recently, a global coalition that includes the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association released a new report that shows using solid biomass to produce electricity makes an immediate or very rapid contribution to climate change mitigation.

None of this is influencing the decisions that private landowners make about harvesting their forests in North Carolina. Those decisions have always been based on demand for high-value timber, not low-value wood fiber.

The emergence of this renewable energy is good for the environment and good for the economy. By creating a new market for wood fiber, including harvested materials that would otherwise go to waste, our members are also ensuring that our forests remain strong for generations to come. That sounds “green” to me.

Seth Ginther

Executive director, U.S. Industrial Pellet Association

Washington, D.C.

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