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The UK, Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands have all converted coal burning plants to wood fired.  By 2020, the EU, which has designated wood as carbon neutral for emissions, will generate 20% of it power from renewables. North Yorkshires, DRAX power plant is capable of 4000 Megawatts, half of which has already been converted to wood.  Exports of wood from the southestern like states of North Carolina and Georgia have grown from nothing in 2005 to 6.5 million metric tons in 2015 and projected to be 9 million metric tons (Forisk Consulting in Athens GA) by 2020.  Mono-culture forests for pellets will not focus on the relatively slow growth of white oak. (Science, 6 Jan 2017)

This is not a settled issue in terms of the environment or the underlying carbon renewal economics but the trip to Europe for pellets is a short one.

Something to think about the next time you drive through Asheville.


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