Location

Logan, UT

Event Website

https://forestry.usu.edu/htm/video/conferences/rtw-2011/abstracts/

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Abstract

Renewable energy sources provided eight percent of the energy our nation consumed in 2010. Biomass accounted for half of that, and wood was the largest subcategory of biomass energy (“bioenergy”), followed closely by liquid biofuels—each provided about 2 percent of our total energy needs. We know how to use wood to make energy, and we have been doing it for a long time. We could be doing more of it. Policy objectives for wood bioenergy might include a) reducing fossil energy use and thereby displacing reliance on foreign oil, b) improving forest health and sustainability, in part by creating markets for forestry products, and c) revitalizing rural economies via jobs. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is another potential objective, but dependent on the accounting stance towards sustainable forestry, which is currently a regulatory uncertainty (and addressed in my closing presentation on “The Forestry/Bioenergy/Carbon Connection”). Due to inattention to concerns affecting the western states, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in August 2010 wrote to President Barack Obama’s energy/climate advisor calling for a cohesive federal wood bioenergy policy, and received no response. A cohesive policy would have clearly specified objectives or ends and then focus on providing means to attain ends. The WGA expressed a sense of urgency and suggested that federal agencies actively engage with the states to develop a clear and unambiguous federal policy for wood bioenergy and make a top priority of attaining the multiple goals of healthy forests, clean air, productive economies, and clean energy. Specific areas needing improvement are a) the counterproductive multitude of biomass definitions, b) bias towards liquid biofuels, and c) land management policies that make removal of hazardous fuels difficult at the scale needed to improve wildfire resiliency, which in turn limits potential bioenergy feedstock supplies and other benefits from active land management.

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Oct 18th, 12:00 AM

Towards a Cohesive Federal Policy on Wood Bioenergy

Logan, UT

Renewable energy sources provided eight percent of the energy our nation consumed in 2010. Biomass accounted for half of that, and wood was the largest subcategory of biomass energy (“bioenergy”), followed closely by liquid biofuels—each provided about 2 percent of our total energy needs. We know how to use wood to make energy, and we have been doing it for a long time. We could be doing more of it. Policy objectives for wood bioenergy might include a) reducing fossil energy use and thereby displacing reliance on foreign oil, b) improving forest health and sustainability, in part by creating markets for forestry products, and c) revitalizing rural economies via jobs. Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is another potential objective, but dependent on the accounting stance towards sustainable forestry, which is currently a regulatory uncertainty (and addressed in my closing presentation on “The Forestry/Bioenergy/Carbon Connection”). Due to inattention to concerns affecting the western states, the Western Governors’ Association (WGA) in August 2010 wrote to President Barack Obama’s energy/climate advisor calling for a cohesive federal wood bioenergy policy, and received no response. A cohesive policy would have clearly specified objectives or ends and then focus on providing means to attain ends. The WGA expressed a sense of urgency and suggested that federal agencies actively engage with the states to develop a clear and unambiguous federal policy for wood bioenergy and make a top priority of attaining the multiple goals of healthy forests, clean air, productive economies, and clean energy. Specific areas needing improvement are a) the counterproductive multitude of biomass definitions, b) bias towards liquid biofuels, and c) land management policies that make removal of hazardous fuels difficult at the scale needed to improve wildfire resiliency, which in turn limits potential bioenergy feedstock supplies and other benefits from active land management.

http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/rtw/2011/Plenary/3