Increasing use of biomass generated power will improve the health of the nation’s forests and reduce the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere. On average, the biomass power industry removes 68.8 million tons of forest waste annually, improving forest health and dramatically reducing the threat of forest fires. This forest waste includes dead debris and brush left to rot on the forest floor.
Clearing this debris is a part of regular forest maintenance and is frequently done by state forest services in the form of open burns. By using this waste to generate electricity, the biomass power industry is preventing the need for open burns and significantly reducing the risk and spread of forest fires.
A 2008 Pacific Institute study found electricity generated from woody biomass to be “carbon neutral” because the carbon that is released is already part of the atmospheric carbon cycle. For example, fossil fuels increase the level of carbon in our atmosphere because their carbon has been sequestered for centuries deep in the Earth. Biomass power taps into a fuel supply that is already actively releasing methane and carbon during the decomposition process. This carbon is already in the atmospheric cycle, and biomass power plants simply use it to generate energy.
Biomass power is carbon neutral energy generated from renewable organic waste that would otherwise be dumped in landfills, openly burned or left as fodder for forest fires.