Using Wood to Meet a Renewable Energy Standard
There is increasing discussion of implementing a national renewable energy standard (RES). Such a measure would require electrical generating utilities in each state to make a set fraction of their electricity from renewable sources. There has been debate in the news about whether the Southeast could meet the standard but woody biomass would be key to generating more renewable energy in this region.
According to the legislation currently being considered, the U.S. electricity supply coming from renewable energy sources would gradually increase to 4 percent in 2011-12, 8 percent in 2013-15, 12 percent in 2016-18, 16 percent in 2019-20 and 20 percent in 2021-39. Renewable energy sources under the bill would include wind, solar, hydropower and biomass such as wood.
Some power companies and regulators oppose a RES because they fear that they do not have sufficient supplies of affordable renewable energy sources.
However, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy has done an analysis (see chart) that suggests that biomass could provide a significant and readily available resource for meeting a RES.
Tennessee has abundant and growing forest resources and the forest products industry has long been a major user of biomass (wood)–based energy. New laws requiring more renewable electricity could lead to the increased of wood energy in the state.
For more information, contact Adam Taylor at 865-946-1125 or AdamTaylor@utk.edu .