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Biomass energy dominant in Ore.'s draft energy plan

The plan touches on how restoration activity done in federal and state forests will reduce risks of catastrophic fire and insect infestation, and at the same time immediately create rural jobs while providing a biomass source that can be utilized to generate heat and electricity or as a feedstock for liquid fuels.
Well what do you know about that?

The ferocious environmentalists of Oregon who once banned geothermal power development now think utilizing wood waste for generating power is better than burning coal unlike those fine folk in the northeast who use the Manomet study backed by the Sierra Club to stall and maybe end the building of biomass power plants.

For sure the Manomet bunch defends itself by saying it only meant that cutting down towering timbers for firewood was not a good idea.  Yeah, better to have forest fires burn them down.  Nobody cuts down large trees for firewood.  

Oregon has lots of the foolishness of solar and wind installations for sometime energy.  It has used this beautiful lake

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By terryhallinan at 2010-06-05

 as a nuclear waste dump because it is in eastern oregon where there are few voters. But Oregon is a leader in sensible renewable energy including catching up on geothermal.

How's come Oregon, and the northwest in general, have all those tall timbers that renew themselves to rapidly even if they are not just the right height for Romney?

An interesting current theory is that it's the bears.  The bears and the salmon.  The bears have been spreading salmon remains around for eons.

Now if they could just get a load of the bullshit from the California environmentalists that have infected public discourse, they could produce more fertilizer and fuel pellets to turn Oregon even greener.

Wouldn't that be nice?

Best,  Terry

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Comment Preferences

  •  Oregon's solar and wind projects are foolishness? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Dead Man, shaharazade, maxomai

    Riiight.

    "...we can all shut-up and go back to our caves." - Leonard Bernstein

    by progdog on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 03:57:23 AM PDT

    •  Solar and Wind are sometime energy (0+ / 0-)

      Solar goes out every night except in the arctic.

      You get the most power from wind when you need it least.

      Both have very large footprints and are environmentally harmful.

      Both have very useful niches but they can not replace baseload power.

      If you want to stop warming the planet by cutting out fossil fuels, you will have to do it baseload replaceables.  Fortunately the baseload alternatives are abundant and cheap and use can even be an aid to undoing some small part of the harm by fossil fuels.

      Best,  Terry

  •  this diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    shaharazade, maxomai, Odysseus

    feels rather incoherent.  I'm not really sure what you're getting at.  Eastern OR would be a decent place for solar, being a desert and all.  I'm not sure why even the intermittent energy from wind is laughable.  Actually, the reason OR has those tall timbers is abundant rainfall on volcanic soils, but why let facts get in the way.  I dunno, maybe the bears and salmon part was supposed to be snarkalicious?

    For sure the Manomet bunch defends itself by saying it only meant that cutting down towering timbers for firewood was not a good idea.  Yeah, better to have forest fires burn them down.  Nobody cuts down large trees for firewood.  
    That paragraph is truly incoherent.  Forest fires are an important part of the ecology of ecosystems.  There are lots of benefits to harvesting forests for multiple products, although i'm not a huge fan of biomass energy, it's hella better than coal, or nukes.  It won't be a long term energy solution, but may be a decent stop-gap source to transition away from coal.
    •  Coherence (0+ / 0-)
      this diary feels rather incoherent.
      Might be helpful if you read it rather than feeling it.
      I'm not really sure what you're getting at.

      Then be sure.  Be absolutely sure.

      Coal and petroleum and gas cannot be replaced by other than baseload power like themselves.

      Now are you sure?

      Japan was going to do baseload solar as soon as they got around to it.  They would deploy an armada of solar satellites that would zap energy down to earthlings like Scotty used to zap the crew of the Enterprise down to planet surfaces.

      But there is no Enterprise and no technology for zapping pinpoint sources with energy blasts.  And so the Japanese had to discover again that nukes can be very bad.

      When people take a little time to look beyond their catechisms, they can find a most interesting world out there.

      Best,  Terry

      •  No, the original commenter is right (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        brasilaaron, PeterHug

        This diary is basically a long whiny rant abou ebul environmentalist hippies, and is light on actual facts. It's not quite trolling, but it certainly doesn't deserve a tip or a recommendation.

      •  right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PeterHug

        i did read it and it made no sense.  As a scientist i like facts, not unsubstantiated inference-inducing statements.  I could be sure about something if it was referring to something factual.  
        Thanks for the semantically-driven drivelicious response, it was nearly entertaining.  When people take the time to communicate effectively they find a most interesting conversation can be had.

        •  Dear Scientist (0+ / 0-)
          As a scientist i like facts
          Scientist to scientist, that is why I gave them to you.

          Ignore them as you wish, but they are no longer even deniable.

          There is no shortage whatever of technical publications for perusal as you wish.

          Best,  Terry

        •  The fate of Louis Pasteur is instructive (0+ / 0-)

          In his last years on earth, Pasteur appeared little more than a madman pushing his screeds on unwilling surgeons advising them to wash their hands.  

          Now he is a hero to fundamentalist kooks, of all people, who write glowing nonsense about his germ theory to prove science today is all wrong.

          Even Albert Einstein was a laughable clown in his youth, a grousing conservative bitterly inveighing against quantum mechanics in his old age.

          Scientific truth is ephemeral unlike theological truth that is eternal - and wrong.

          Best,  Terry

  •  I also felt this was a little incoherent. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maxomai, brasilaaron

    I read it carefully.  I don't think you explained your message very well.  That's ok, just try rewriting it.  Clarity is a hallmark of good exposition.  You can be defensive or you can become a better writer, but you can't do both.

    Also, don't they have batteries that store energy from solar and wind when it's night or windless?

    Can't we just drown Grover Norquist in a bathtub?

    by Rezkalla on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 08:08:37 AM PDT

    •  Storage (0+ / 0-)
      don't they have batteries that store energy from solar and wind when it's night or windless?
      Sure.  

      But do you have any idea what MW batteries would be like and how much they would require, not to mention the environmental harm if the elements needed for making them could even be made availale somehoiw?

      The best energy storage available today is pumped storage dams but that is limited by topography.

      Either way,  may I repeat, baseload renewable energy is cheap, available worldwide, and far more plentiful than all other energy sources combined.

      Did you miss that somehow?  It is no longer even deniable.

      Thanks for reading anyway.

      Best,  Terry

  •  What exactly are you trying to say here? (0+ / 0-)
    Now if they could just get a load of the bullshit from the California environmentalists that have infected public discourse, they could produce more fertilizer and fuel pellets to turn Oregon even greener.
    The invective is so dripping I think it might have completely hidden your point.

    202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

    by cany on Fri Jun 08, 2012 at 09:45:27 AM PDT

    •  I am trying to say precisely what I said (0+ / 0-)

      California has been particularly hostile to baseload renewable energy despite being gifted with a huge leap forward over half a century ago by a now legendary geothermal pioneer whose effort was taken from him in a hostile takeover.  It made B. C. McCabe a very rich but broken man.  His discovery and development was then put under vampire management by an oil company that left a very bad taste for the technology for decades.

      There was a grand celebration a few years ago in San Jose when the number one target for geothermal development was stopped cold.  It was somewhat similar to a great celebration in Hawaii when another development might have offended Pele, the goddess of fire.  Sen. Inouye was at the festivities to brag about the federal funding the senator had secured to stop that horrid geothermal development.  Today the state with the highest electricity rates in the nation and dirtiest energy is begging for geothermal power.

      There is still enormous hostility to removing the waste and debris from forests to use for generating electricity.  Seems forest fires are good for the environment.  They are not so hot, so to speak, for the trees and forest critters and people, not to mention the atmosphere that gets more tons of carbon and worse.

      Best,  Terry

  •  I am assuming (0+ / 0-)

    this diary supports burning wood to generate electrical energy as an environmentally sound practice.

    I demur. Wood-burning power plants emit tonnages of pollution equivalent to coal-fired power plants.

    •  Do You Not Understand the Difference Between (0+ / 0-)

      fossil fuels and renewables?

      Wood-burning power plants emit tonnages of pollution equivalent to coal-fired power plants.
      Even were it true, the difference is that wood does not add long sequestered carbon to the surface.  Biomass, including wood, recycles carbon already at the surface and even adds some ability to sequester a portion of that carbon.

      We can stop adding carbon to the atmosphere or we can perhaps all die.  Either way the changes will be catastrophic.

      Oh yeah, forest fires are not exactly preferable to controlled burning of the kindling to both add to power supplies and save the forests.

      BTW what does anyone want to save municipal waste and sewage for?

      The land and waters and atmosphere don't really need it.

      Thank you for a reasonable discussion.

      Best,  Terry

      •  I do understand (0+ / 0-)

        the difference between fossil and renewables. You never said your diary was about reducing carbon emissions.

         I don't feel that building new sources of conventional air pollution acceptably replaces fossil fuels for energy generation.

        I believe any carbon emissions reductions are marginal for the following reasons.

        If you start massive cutting of forests to feed 40 new wood-fired power plants, you are also eliminating the carbon sinks those forests provide.

        A typical wood burning power plant runs about 20-50 megawatts. If you want to replace even one 1000 megawatt coal-fired plant, you need lots of wood burners and need to cut down millions of tons of trees every year. You need about 10,000 tons of /wood/year to crank out a single megawatt.

        You also will be degrading air quality in a couple of dozen locations.

        Wood burning plants only made sense if they consume wood waste exclusively, not if live trees must be cut for fuel.

        •  What is "conventional air pollution?" (0+ / 0-)

          Is that anything like breathing, defecating, stuff that all living organisms do?

          Modern biomass power plants are quite clean.  The converted wood-burning power plant in Burlington, VT, where Bernie Sanders was mayor is quite clean though the technology is quit old now and not nearly as clean as current plants.  You think Sanders is a wastrel?  Do tell.

          If you start massive cutting of forests
          You would rather burn down the forests?  

          There has never been, nor ever will be, massive cutting of forests for firewood.  It's ludicrous to claim any such thing.

          Pure propaganda.

          A recent innovation, and one not particularly to my liking, is to make plantings of "scrap" trees like willows for fuel.  In Bulington maybe 5% of the fuel consists of such wood to encourage growers in case of emergency.  There never has been an emergency.  

          The most modern plants first gassify the biomass - a truly venerable technology that has been modernized.

          If you want to replace even one 1000 megawatt coal-fired plant, you need lots of wood burners and need to cut down millions of tons of trees every year.
          Simply false.

          You don't even need to use wood.  Alfalfa farmers in Minnesota finally got permission to use the waste parts of a special giant alfalfa for fuel pellets, the edible parts for hay burners like horses.  Weeds can be used as well.  Do you object to cutting weeds?

          The long regulatory path reduced the farmers co-op to a handful from thousands.  Meanwhile fossil fuels continued to mess up the planet.

          You also will be degrading air quality in a couple of dozen locations.
          The venerable McNeil Generating Station in Bernie Sanders old hangout is in a populated area.  It is not as clean as modern plants but the air is quite breathable.  In Europe even garbage burning facilities are in the middle of urban areas.  

          I think we are wasting bandwidth on your falsehoods and my truths but thank you for the opportunity to tell the truth.

          Best,  Terry

          •  coal v biomass (0+ / 0-)

            The McNeil wood burning power plant you mention was recently upgraded with modern pollution controls. It's permitted to emit .075 lbs. of Nitorgen Oxides per million BTU of heat generated and produces 50-75% as much NOX pollution as most wood fired power plants.

            But recently permitted coal fired power plants like Desert Rock have NOx limits as low as .06 lb/mmbtu, or 25% cleaner than the McNeil plant you cite.

            I never mentioned cutting trees for firewood. I discussed cutting trees to burn for power generation, which was your diary's original topic; committing Oregon's forests to use in biomass power plants.

            After I questioned the massive committment of timber for fuel to replace just one coal fired power plant, now you want to burn weeds and crop waste instead.

            That's fine to a modest degree. There are many crop-waste-fired power plants but they are rarely over 10-25 meagawatts, while a big coal power plant is around 1000 MW.

            If you wanted to tout burning crop stubble I wonder why your diary was about utilizing Oregon trees as power plant fuel.

            By "Conventional" air pollutants I meant "criteria" air pollutants.

            Biomass has a legitimate modest power generation niche where waste materials like lumber scrap or crop stubble are available.

            I do object to cutting weeds. They just grow back. You need to pull weeds.

            Please also verify your assertions that the Oregon environmentalists outlawed geothermal energy and Albert Lake is a nuclear waste dump.

            •  Are You Pushing [heh heh] Clean Coal? (0+ / 0-)
              The McNeil wood burning power plant you mention was recently upgraded with modern pollution controls. It's permitted to emit .075 lbs. of Nitorgen Oxides per million BTU of heat generated and produces 50-75% as much NOX pollution as most wood fired power plants.

              But recently permitted coal fired power plants like Desert Rock have NOx limits as low as .06 lb/mmbtu, or 25% cleaner than the McNeil plant you cite.

              And how does that compare to modern biomass power plants?

              Does the increase in carbon in the atmosphere from coal not bother you at all?

              The decades-old McNeil Generating Station uses older technology and was converted from a natural gas (the wondrous new "clean" fossil fuel that may actually warm the atmosphere more than coal  from escape of methane) only plant.  Today there remains an option to burn natural gas if you want to be dirty.

              I never mentioned cutting trees for firewood. I discussed cutting trees to burn for power generation
              And exactly how do you expect to get that power except by burning?  Even a modern gassification power plant burns the gasses.

              Shall we return to the facts.

              Nowhere ever has anyone clear cut forests for firewood or planned any such thing.  It would be insane.

              After I questioned the massive committment of timber for fuel to replace just one coal fired power plant, now you want to burn weeds and crop waste instead.

              That's fine to a modest degree. There are many crop-waste-fired power plants but they are rarely over 10-25 meagawatts, while a big coal power plant is around 1000 MW.

              Biomass power plants, converted from fossil fuels or newly built, burn - ummm - biomass.  Biomass can even be as varied as waste wood, inedible alfalfa parts, poulty poop (yes poultry poop that is better burnt than polluting streams though such plants too must fight "environmentalists").

              Any biological wastes are capable of generating power rather than your clean coal.

              The Minnesota alfalfa growers co-op finally abandoned plans to build a 165MW power plant utilizing inedible alfalfa parts after numerous farmers in Minnesota and adjoining states quit or died or went bankrupt, whatever, but plans continue to produce fuel pellets that would include weed cuttings.  The head of the group, one Keith Poier, told me they would not have started the effort had they any notion of the fierce resistance they would meet - and that even after a state grant that had encouraged the project.

              Believe it or not, a biomass power plant can be the same size as a coal-burning power plant.  Why would you think otherwise?  Biomass can even briquetted so that coal could simply be replaced by a clean fuel though the technology is new and more talk than fire to date.  It is much the same with drop-in biomass fuels replacing gasoline and diesel or all-fuel engines that obsolete fossil fuels altogether.

              I do object to cutting weeds. They just grow back. You need to pull weeds.
              But that's hilarious.  Those dang trees grow back too.

              That's fine.  Pull your weeds and then burn them.  There is no shortage whatever.

              With all the new carbon you want to put in the air, they will grow faster and taller than ever if drought doesn't kill them also from your polluted atmosphere.

              Please also verify your assertions that the Oregon environmentalists outlawed geothermal energy and Albert Lake is a nuclear waste dump.
              [sigh]  I wrote numerous diaries on the subjects.  Are you incapable of looking them up?

              Though there was a heated war over dumping low-level nuclear waste in Abert Lake I could only find testimony from the hearings when real environmentalists objected strenuously and lost.  Like most of my diaries, it was mostly ignored here by the purported environmentalists enamored mostly of the foppery of solar and wind power and even nuclear energy.

              And again.  Solar and wind have superb niches but are an expensive playtoy for utility-scale power with current technology.  Nukes would be banned altogether in a sane world.

              Thank you for your interest.

              Best,  Terry

            •  A Small Addendum (0+ / 0-)

              I suggested reducing this fine fellow

              Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
              By terryhallinan at 2010-01-16

               to fuel pellets, along with kudzu and other noxious pests.

              A Malaysian conglomerate plans to make a bundle by converting empty fruit bunches after extracting the palm oil fruits to fuel pellets.

              In the case of the rock snot algae, I was accused of wanting to farm the monster that is unmitigated horror in what it does to streams.

              As for utilizing the voluminous empty fruit bunches, I was accused of wanting to convert rainforest to palm oil plantations.

              I only suggest waste is better utilized for power than polluting the land, sea and atmosphere of the planet and surely better than fossil fuels.

              I am not enamored of growing fuel but that is a whole 'nother story.

              Best,  Terry

            •  Nuclear Obscene (0+ / 0-)
              * [new] Nuclear Waste Dumping (2+ / 0-)

                  The subject of the third paper of the evening was the application of fluid inclusion research in the Permian Salado salt of New Mexico to the siting of a nuclear waste repository.  The paper was given by Ed Roedder and the co-author was Harvey Belkin.  Ed demonstrated the usefulness of fluid inclusions in explaining the geologic history of the salt beds, and concluded that the high Ca-Mg brines in the inclusions are deleterious to the potential storage of high-level nuclear wastes.

              No shortage of lakes available for dumping nuclear wastes besides Lake Abert.

                  Bernard Cohen, University  of Pittsburg, then spoke on the comparative merits of different media, including salt, for waste containment.  He expressed the feeling that the dangers of radioactive waste are greatly overexaggerated and suggested that waste will not add significantly to natural radiation levels of the U.S.

              In the past I posted other minutes of a meeting of the same group with the same professor discussing how people get all bent out of shape over harmless radioactive wastes.  That concerned the dumping in Lake Abert.

              The waste has to go somewhere.  Lakes, caves, oceans, just bury it, who cares where?  

              And so it was done.

              And then the denials and catcalls even from normally responsible posters:
              * [new] WTF? Lake Albert is not a nuclear waste dump. (0+ / 0-)

              This diary makes no sense.

              "It's the planet, stupid."

              by FishOutofWater on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 06:44:37 AM PST

                   * [new] There are no uranium mine wastes either (0+ / 0-)

                  And no depleted uranium.

                  It is all lies.

                  Thank you for straightening us all out.

                  BTW it is Lake Abert, not Lake Albert, I wrote about.  

                  Best,  Terry

              -

               * [new] I can only conclude (1+ / 0-)

              That the diarist has taken leave of his or her senses.

              The quoted minutes date from 1979.

              by WIds on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 06:58:58 AM PST

                   * [new] Yeah (0+ / 0-)

                  But some of us who are familiar with the previous ramblings of this particular author and have been able to evaluate the author's state of mind have known that reality and sanity left for a permanent vacation a long time ago.
                  ;-)

                  An idealist is one who, on noticing that a rose smells better than a cabbage, concludes that it will also make better soup.
                  -- H. L. Mencken

                  by bryfry on Wed Dec 17, 2008 at 08:37:04 AM PST

              So much for research and documentation, as skimpy as it was.

              People mostly believe what they want to believe and compared to that nothing else matters.

              Best,  Terry

  •  Excuse me (0+ / 0-)

    I meant Abert Lake, which you claim is a nuclear waste dump. Evidence, please.

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