Europe’s Green Energy Portfolio Up in Smoke?

…the truth about the “big lie” that burning wood for energy is carbon- neutral

By Stephen Leahy

BERLIN, Jun 7, 2010 (IPS)

Europe seems hell-bent on burning the world’s forests for bioenergy, even as it offers billions of euros to save them, critics say.

The dirty secret of Europe’s vaunted green energy revolution is the fact that 68.5 percent of its renewable energy portfolio comes from biofuels and burning wood for energy, according to a report released in Brussels last week. Modern technologies like wind and solar get all the press, but burning wood is well, prehistoric.

“We estimate at least 27 million tonnes of wood biomass will be needed annually to supply planned power stations in the UK (United Kingdom) alone,” said Almuth Ernsting from Biofuelwatch, a British NGO focused on bioenergy issues.

In a story broken by IPS last fall, at least one million hectares of forest annually will be needed to feed the dozens of planned wood-fired power plants in Britain alone. The Netherlands is already burning one million tonnes of wood. Germany is up 23 million cubic meters (16.5 million tonnes) – mostly imported – and plans to double this figure by 2020, said the report co-published with the Global Justice Ecology Project, “Wood Based Bioenergy: The Green Lie”.

“It’s getting pretty scary,” Ernsting, a report co-author, told IPS. Continue reading