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Climate & Energy
2007 National Dialogue Scooping Workshop Summary
2007 Pocantico Workshop: National Dialogue Scoping Workshop
Two major national priorities-mitigating climate change through the reduction of fossil fuel emissions, and greater energy security through increased use of domestic renewable energy, have expanded the demands on US forests for wood-based bioenergy. This approach to producing energy may decrease forest degradation from loggers taking only the largest trees of the forest to cutting, previously, less desirable timber. However, this approach may have negative consequences as well.

The Pinchot Institute, in collaboration with a myriad of other interested groups, convened a national dialogue on how best to take advantage of opportunities provided by wood bioenergy technologies. The dialogue introduced those in the conservation community along with organizations from the energy, agricultural, rural economic development and sustainable forestry interests to identify potential risks to important conservation values which may arise from the development of these new and emerging technologies. It was the first of several sessions occurring throughout 2007 and 2008 which will help guide the development of wood-based bioenergy as a major energy source.

Session Summary: Ensuring Forest Sustainability in the Development of Wood-Based Bioenergy: A National Dialogue. V. Alaric Sample, President, Pinchot Institute for Conservation. Download .pdf

Panels and Presentations:

Introduction. Emerging markets for wood bioenergy: challenges and opportunities.
 Al Sample, Pinchot Institute. [Powerpoint][.pdf]

Objective: Outline recent trends in the development of wood-based bioenergy, and opportunities to guide further development in order to achieve desired social goals for renewable energy production without engendering unintended negative consequences for environmental values and sustainable development. The goal of the workshop is to facilitate well-informed decision making regarding the choice of renewable energy facilities of the appropriate type and scale for local circumstances.

Panel 1. The spectrum of wood-based bioenergy technologies: new, not-so-new, and emergent

Objective: Describe and characterize the range of wood bioenergy technologies (thermal, combined heat and power, wood pelletizing, co-generation, wood-fired powerplants, biorefineries): factors that influence location and scale; typical patterns of wood consumption; local economic development considerations

  • Al Sample (Moderator)
  • Tim Maker, Bioenergy Resource Center [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Steve Mueller, International Wood Fuels
  • Robert Wagner, Forest Bioproducts Research Initiative, Univ of Maine [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Larry Biles, Southern Forestry Research Partnership [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Catherine Mater, Mater Engineering [Powerpoint][.pdf]

Panel 2. Implications for forest conservation: opportunities, challenges and choices

Objective: Examine the potential effects of accelerated, often uncoordinated wood bioenergy development on regional wood demand, and implications for ecological values and environmental quality.

  • Eric Palola, National Wildlife Federation (Moderator)
  • Michael Anderson, The Wilderness Society [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Will McDow, Environmental Defense [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Tim Volk, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry [Powerpoint][.pdf]

Panel 3. Safeguards to ensure sustainable wood bioenergy development: governmental and non-governmental initiatives

Objective: Explore current initiatives to review, evaluate, and augment existing sustainable forestry standards regarding woody biomass removal. This will include revisions in governmental standards such as state forest practices laws and BMPs, as well as non-governmental standards such as those for independent third-party certification

Panel 4. Implications for sustainable community development: making informed choices that reflect broader local and regional goals

Objective: Consider the spectrum of existing and emerging wood bioenergy technologies, in terms of broader community and regional goals for economic stability, and affordable energy. What are the factors that communities, governments, and industry consider in determining what types of wood bioenergy may be best suited to the local circumstances and goals?

  • John Hagan, Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences (Moderator)
  • Tim Maker, Bioenergy Resource Center [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Bob Perschel, Forest Guild [Powerpoint][.pdf]
  • Dan Bihn, Flexible Energy Communities Initiative

Speaker Bios: Download .pdf

List of Participants: Download .pdf

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