05.09.2013 0

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. 

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