05.09.2013 15

Biggest Brit Electric Power Plant Switches to Burning Woodchips—Back to the Days of Camelot?

By Rick Manning

Insane, bonkers, utterly mad and downright Looney Tunes are all terms which could be used to describe actions a Yorkshire, England power plant is taking to meet Great Britain’s green agenda.

Great Britain has coal, plenty of it, and the Drax power plant is one of the most efficient coal burning power plants in the country.  So, what are they doing?

To meet government environmental guidelines, the company is converting the massive plant that supplies around seven percent of all electricity to the country from coal to renewable bio-mass, a high sounding term that in this instance actually means wood chips.

That’s right, wood chips.

Of course, while Great Britain has coal aplenty, they are a little shy on trees to turn into wood chips.  It is rumored that Robin Hood became quite unmerry when he heard rumor that someone might go all Fargo on Sherwood Forest.

Drax’s plan is not to target British forests for extinction but rather to import wood chips from the U.S., Europe and Africa, and import they will.  It is estimated that this one coal plant will burn millions of tons of wood chips each year.

Remember back in the good ole days when the enviros used to want us to use plastic bags and save a tree?   I guess we now know why, so the Brits could go back to the days of Camelot and use them to heat their homes.

The ultimate irony of the decision is that burning wood actually emits more carbon dioxide than burning coal, at least until a new tree fully matures in one hundred years.  Here is how the Institute for Energy Research reports it (emphasis mine): “A researcher at Princeton University calculated that if whole trees are used to produce energy, they would increase carbon emissions compared with coal by 79 percent over 20 years and 49 percent over 40 years and that there would be no carbon reduction for 100 years until the replacement trees have matured.”

Yes, you read that correctly, at a time when the global warming preachers predict catastrophic consequences if the United States doesn’t take drastic steps to reduce our CO2 emissions immediately, in Great Britain, they are effectively forcing the largest emitter of CO2 in that nation to convert to wood chips and increase their carbon emissions by 79 percent over the first 20 years.

One wonders if Benny Hill or Mr. Bean are making this stuff up.

The big reveal in this whole situation is that the environmentalists and their advocates don’t actually care about CO2 emissions, they care about disrupting the fuel that has driven the western world’s industrial base.

It doesn’t matter that burning wood creates more CO2 than burning coal, burning coal is bad.  It doesn’t matter that it is abundant, less expensive and has been critical to providing low cost electricity to generations, because it comes out of the ground, it is inherently bad.

The fact that U.S. forests and others around the world will be depleted, with building supply costs skyrocketing as trees formerly intended to be 2 x 4s are instead being pulverized to feed the green machine at Drax.  Of course, then President Obama can claim that the new wood chipping jobs were part of his mysteriously missing green economy.

Of course, for anyone to know about this green hypocrisy, and the wood burning future they hope to bring about, it would have to be reported far and wide.

A dentist in London has a better chance of making a decent living than this story has of being exposed far and wide to the American public.

Rick Manning (@rmanning957) is the Vice President of Public Policy & Communications for Americans for Limited Government. 

  • SovereignMary

    The “government environmental guidelines” will soon be opening a Department of Candles and having everyone picking up horse chips behind horse drawn buggies!

  • FlashJank

    I have a forestry degree and I’m not saying burning wood over coal in power plants is the answer I like coal, but wood is the most renewable resource on earth, there is no way they would use 100 yr old trees to turn into chips, biomass is the tree waste from logging jobs or parts of trees not used at a mill that would otherwise be a waste. trees like pines are specifically grown to be used as young as 3-4 yrs old to create wood products like plywood. If you look into it you will see that trees may not solve our problems but they can be very useful, you can even create ethanol from trees!

  • pduffy

    But the government has locked up millions and millions of acres of trees in the ‘National Forest’ system, where dead trees by the hundreds of millions fall to the ground, and then are fuel for massive wild fire infernos that can’t be put out, and all of this policy was to “save the trees”. I experienced this myself in the forests of New Mexico in 2011 where the dead wood was piled so high, you couldn’t walk 10 feet through the trees, and then a series of wild fires came ripping through and destroyed much of the forest around Sacramento and Weed. But in areas where the trees had been thinned and the dead wood removed with controlled burns, those areas escaped, but NOT on government-owned property, and all because of ‘green’ policies put in place by the environmentalists whackos. Please give your answer on how to deal with theses people if you have forestry degree? These areas are still ‘off limits’ to any kind of timber harvesting.

  • pduffy

    Meanwhile….as we go to the ‘green’, the Asians are building coal fire power plants as fast as they can open them. The net gain in so-called ‘greenhouse’ gas reduction will be zero, but the cost to produce the same kilowatt of power will skyrocket for the European economy. If I didn’t know better, I would say this is economic suicide.


    Burning wood chips in conjunction with coal creates a cleaner fuel burn and air pollutants are subsequently reduced. Burning wood chips will actually improve existing forests as the trees removed for chips will be cull trees and waste from logging practices. Hence the remaining trees will have better growing conditions. It should be obvious that quality saw timber trees would not be used for wood chips for burning. I am not sure if the plant still exists but there was a wood chip burning plant in Burlington, Vermont during the late 1970’s. I have not heard of deforestation of Vermont as a result of that wood chip burning plant. Burning of wood chips should be a great economic benefit to rural areas who depend on jobs working in the woods. Burning of wood chips is not going to destroy the environment or pollute the air as when the entire procedure is examined objectively you will find it is much more environmentally sound then corn grown ethanol production.

  • Maybe wood is cheaper than coal, so England will sell their coal to the Asians and burn wood, so it all comes out cheaper. Still stupid, but worth a chance, LOL.

  • Notice how so many environmentalists are narrow minded or have tunnel vision. Not long ago in the U.S. a whale went the wrong way and ended up in a river, so the animal activists zipped out on diesel powered tugs to save the whale. Back in the late 80s I believe the tree activists forced everyone to give up paper bags and start using plastic bags at the stores. You don’t see them apologizing for the mess the world has with plastic bags today, do yah. Guess we will see if anyone perches themselves up in a tree and goes on a hunger strike to save the trees this time around. I believe in protecting the environment, but I try to find ways that can save one thing without killing the rest.

  • Ha ha!! The Eco-freaks are truly idiots’ How much diesel fuel to run the barges to bring the chips from the US ? Un believable.

  • Glenn

    It may take 100 years for a tree to reach maturity in order for it to take in the carbon released burning an equal amount of wood chips, but how long for new coal to form to remove the carbon released from burning coal removed from the ground?

  • FloridaJim

    Sure go ahead destroy the forests!

  • rick manning

    They are not burning wood in conjunction with coal, they are doing so in lieu of coal.

  • WhiteFalcon

    Drax needs to take about a one month holiday and see what cutting their power means to the country. None of my business, but it seems like a good object lesson.

  • WhiteFalcon

    The notion of “greenhouse gas” is fraudulant as you no doubt know. The whole global warming mess is a fraud. There is no golbal warming.

  • pduffy

    Correct. The purpose of the fraud was to convince the sheeple that in order to reduce the ‘greenhouse gas’, a TAX on energy would be needed. It was always a back-door way to increase taxes to fund the bankrupt governments so they could continue their social schemes because they KNEW that without some new source of funding, they would go bankrupt. Now we shall see what they do next to continue to foist this lie. One way or the other, they will find a way to get this tax. As Barry Soetoro (aka Obama), once said, “Energy rates would necessarily skyrocket”, because the extra cost would be to fund the government and their schemes. There never was a shred of truth to any of it, it was a Marxist plot, plain and simple.

  • WhiteFalcon

    I read recentyl tha the whole idea was debunked in 1951. Even then, when scientists were real scientists, it was known that water vapor absorbs far more heat than CO2 does and that all excess heat is radiated out into outer space.

Back to top

Copyright © 2008-2016 Americans for Limited Government