Vermont Climate Council takes on role of biomass energy production

Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 4:14 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Is burning wood chips and other biomass helpful or harmful when it comes to meeting the state’s climate goals? It’s a question the state’s new Vermont Climate Council hopes to tackle.

The council’s Biomass Task Force Wednesday heard from UMass Lowell, Tufts University, Climate interactive, and Partnership for Policy Integrity, that biomass, like that used by Burlington Electric’s McNeil Generating Station, is not a solution, especially when it comes to generating electricity.

“We’re seeing that there is a history here that wood is renewable and good for the climate but the reality, the science, and public perception and policy is changing. Our own work shows that wood does not help Vermont meet its climate goals,” said Juliette Rooney-Varge, with UMass Lowell.

The policy recommendations from the presenters were to exclude wood bioenergy from Vermont’s renewable energy standards, prevent the expansion of large-scale biomass facilities, and create more strategic carbon reserves.

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