Wednesday, March 13, 2013

German Renewable Energy Policy Takes Toll on Nature Conservation

This Spiegel Online explains, among other things, why "biomass" is seldom mentioned in articles celebrating the growth in renewables in Germany.  While renewables can be said to produce over 20% of German electricity, wind and solar are only 13% of that; hydro, unchanged for decades is hydro at 4%, and the other big growth has come biomass (now at ~6%)

German Renewable Energy Policy Takes Toll on Nature Conservation - SPIEGEL ONLINE:
Kaiser says this is "a climate-policy disaster" and estimates that this clear-cutting alone will release more than 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Forests are important for lowering levels of greenhouse gases, as large quantities of carbon dioxide are trapped in wood -- especially the wood of ancient beech trees like these. Less than two years ago, UNESCO added the "Ancient Beech Forests of Germany" to its list of World Natural Heritage Sites.
It wasn't any private forest magnate who cleared these woods out. Rather, it was Hessen-Forst, a forestry company owned by the western German state of Hesse. For some years now, wood has enjoyed a reputation for being an excellent source of energy -- one that is eco-friendly and presumably climate neutral. At the moment, more than half of the lumber felled in Germany makes into way into biomass power plants or wood-pellet heating systems. The result has been an increase in prices for wood and the related profit expectations. The prospect of making a quick buck, Kaiser says, "has led to a downright brutalization of the forestry business."
The entire article can be read at SPIEGEL ONLINE

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