June 21, 2010 - adventure and news

Monday, June 21, 2010

From the energy/adventure department: yesterday I went kayaking on Center Pond in Phippsburg, Maine. (Thanks to the Phippsburg Land Trust for helping conserve the lands and access!) Center Pond, like Winnegance, was originally a tidal salt marsh. It was dammed in 1883 to make an ice pond. Ice was big business along the lower Kennebec, as it was the principal source of refrigeration for the world, and the combination of clean fresh water and proximity to shipping made the Kennebec a busy place for shipping ice.

I had a great paddle, although I did get chased off by a powerful lightning storm that ended up knocking out power for a few hours.
From Energy Policy Update

Quick energy policy news: an editorial in today's Morning Sentinel about biomass energy. This article comes in the wake of recent studies suggesting that despite other analyses, biomass combustion does have carbon and climate impacts. Indeed, several recent studies have suggested that not only does biomass combustion emit long-term atmospheric carbon, but that increased harvesting will exacerbate the carbon imbalance. The editorial notes that in Maine, biomass for combustion has typically come from wood waste and thinnings, not wood suitable for use for pulp, fiber or lumber, and suggests a compromise that may include restrictions that require the use of wood waste and thinning, not higher value material.

This is consistent with a conversation I had this morning with a client. We were discussing biomass markets and the federal BCAP program. He told me that BCAP was responsible for a number of processors setting up chippers in the woods in order to participate in the incentive program, and that some of this BCAP-induced activity involved chipping wood that could have been used for fiber or lumber. I've heard similar accounts several times in the months since BCAP went live.

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