GB #15: Biomass Could Provide Half of Washington State’s Energy Needs

While this looks a bit optimistic, and doesn’t account for the energy required to produce the energy, Washington’s state Department of Ecology has big plans for organic wastes:

Included in the inventory of biomass is wood waste from mills, livestock manure, kitchen waste, food processing waste, crop residue and other byproducts. Combined, the 45 sources total about 16.9 million tons of biomass capable of producing 1,770 megawatts of electricity, according to the report compiled by biological engineers from Washington State University.

Mason and Thurston counties together produce more than 1 million tons of biomass, with about 70 percent of it wood waste from logging and mill production. Another 20 percent is poultry waste from large commercial chicken farms in Thurston County. The report highlights the potential of a variety of homegrown energy supplies spread across the state, noted Rhys Roth, codirector of the Climate Solutions Olympia office.

β€œThis sort of inventory of the waste stream is the first step in turning these materials into resources that can help meet our state’s energy needs,” Roth said.

β€œWashingtonians deserve affordable alternative energy sources, and biomass has terrific potential to contribute toward energy independence,” Gov. Chris Gregoire added.

What I find promising here is simply the thought process: essentially, waste equals energy. A simple idea, but one that’s hard to wrap our brains around because we value disposability so highly. BTW, some idiot left a comment touting nuclear energy… go get him…

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