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Oregon Lawmakers Look To Expand Renewable Energy Options With Biomass


The latest version of an Oregon bill to double the state’s renewable energy mandate would also expand incentives to build and operate power plants that burn wood.

A slash pile at a timber harvest site in the Tillimook State Forest. Advocates of woody biomass say slash like this can be used to replace fossil fuels.

A slash pile at a timber harvest site in the Tillimook State Forest. Advocates of woody biomass say slash like this can be used to replace fossil fuels.

Marcus Kauffman

Lawmakers added a provision on biomass to the bill Thursday night, in an effort to gain support of state Sen. Chris Edwards, D-Eugene, who was previously lukewarm on the legislation.

Biomass is politically popular in rural areas of the state and communities with timber mills where wood waste can be used as fuel. At the same time, some environmentalists have questioned whether biomass should qualify as renewable energy, and researchers have found burning wood can release more carbon than coal.

The renewable energy bill moving through the Oregon Legislature would require PacifiCorp and Portland General Electric to stop using coal power to serve their Oregon customers. It would also require the utilities use sources such as solar and wind to serve 50 percent of their customers’ energy demand by 2040. The House passed the bill last week.

Read more at Pamplin Media.

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