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Title: Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative

Abstract

In the state’s Electricity Restructuring Act of 1998, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognized the opportunity and strategic benefits to diversifying its electric generation capacity with renewable energy. Through this legislation, the Commonwealth established one of the nation’s first Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) programs, mandating the increasing use of renewable resources in its energy mix. Bioenergy, meeting low emissions and advanced technology standards, was recognized as an eligible renewable energy technology. Stimulated by the state’s RPS program, several project development groups have been looking seriously at building large woody biomass generation units in western Massachusetts to utilize the woody biomass resource. As a direct result of this development, numerous stakeholders have raised concerns and have prompted the state to take a leadership position in pursuing a science based analysis of biomass impacts on forest and carbon emissions, and proceed through a rulemaking process to establish prudent policy to support biomass development which can contribute to the state’s carbon reduction commitments and maintain safeguards for forest sustainability. The Massachusetts Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative (SFBI) was funded by the Department of Energy and started by the Department of Energy Resources before these contentious biomass issues were fully raised in the state, andmore » continued throughout the substantive periods of this policy development. Thereby, while SFBI maintained its focus on the initially proposed Scope of Work, some aspects of this scope were expanded or realigned to meet the needs for groundbreaking research and policy development being advanced by DOER. SFBI provided DOER and the Commonwealth with a foundation of state specific information on biomass technology and the biomass industry and markets, the most comprehensive biomass fuel supply assessment for the region, the economic development impact associated with biomass usage, an understanding of forest management trends including harvesting and fuel processing methods, and the carbon profile of utilizing forest based woody biomass for the emerging biomass markets. Each of the tasks and subtasks have provided an increased level of understanding to support new directives, policies and adaptation of existing regulations within Massachusetts. The project has provided the essential information to allow state policymakers and regulators to address emerging markets, while ensuring forest sustainability and understanding the complex science on CO2 accounting and impacts as a result of biomass harvesting for power generation. The public at large and electricity ratepayers in Massachusetts will all benefit from the information garnered through this project. This is a result of the state’s interest to provide financial incentives to only biomass projects that demonstrate an acceptable carbon profile, an efficient use of the constrained supply of fuel, and the harvest of biomass to ensure forest sustainability. The goals of the Massachusetts Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative as proposed in 2006 were identified as: increase the diversity of the Massachusetts energy mix through biomass; promote economic development in the rural economy through forest industry job creation; help fulfill the state’s energy and climate commitments under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and Climate Protection Plan; assist the development of a biomass fuel supply infrastructure to support energy project demands; provide education and outreach to the public on the benefits and impacts of bioenergy; improve the theory and practice of sustainable forestry in the Commonwealth. Completed project activities summarized below will demonstrate the effectiveness of the project in meeting the above goals. In addition, as discussed above, Massachusetts DOER needed to make some modifications to its work plan and objectives during the term of this project due to changing public policy demands brought forth in the course of the public discourse on this topic. We found that some tasks needed to be adjusted to meet changed conditions. Shortly after the start of SFBI, DOER recognized that establishing demonstration plots within state owned lands was not possible as the state enacted a temporary freeze on all timber harvesting on state lands, to allow for the completion of an assessment of current impacts of this activity and time to develop prudent policies on land conservation. Even more significantly, the state’s energy and environmental Secretary asked DOER to place a “sustainability” criterion for biomass in the RPS regulations, and the passage of the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act in 2008 committed DOER to very carefully consider and assure that biomass energy supported by the RPS met carbon reduction thresholds aligned with the state’s reduction commitments. These needs led to some adjustment of the SFBI scope and objectives to meet the policy challenges. Most notably was the funding and commissioning of the report by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences which provided the sustainability and carbon impact framework necessary for DOER to move policy forward prudently. The “Manomet Study” has moved this emerging policy issue substantially forward, gained national and international significance, and provided a new look at how the forest sequesters carbon and the effect of the removal of growing stock for energy on future carbon sequestration and atmospheric flux. This activity provided information that supports the objectives of SFBI but to accommodate this work, several subtasks were combined and addressed within the framework of the Manomet research study. The expected outcomes of the SFBI include the development of biomass energy systems that support sustainable forest management, new investment in forestry and fuel supply infrastructure, biomass energy generation that contributes to greenhouse gas mitigation, and job creation in project development and operation and in the rural forestry sector.« less

Authors:
;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, Boston, MA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE EE Office of Biomass (EE-2E); USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1024804
Report Number(s):
DOE-GO-86019-1
DOE Contract Number:  
FG36-06GO86019
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
09 BIOMASS FUELS

Citation Formats

Breger, Dwayne, and Rizzo, Rob. Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative. United States: N. p., 2011. Web. doi:10.2172/1024804.
Breger, Dwayne, & Rizzo, Rob. Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative. United States. doi:10.2172/1024804.
Breger, Dwayne, and Rizzo, Rob. Tue . "Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative". United States. doi:10.2172/1024804. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1024804.
@article{osti_1024804,
title = {Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative},
author = {Breger, Dwayne and Rizzo, Rob},
abstractNote = {In the state’s Electricity Restructuring Act of 1998, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts recognized the opportunity and strategic benefits to diversifying its electric generation capacity with renewable energy. Through this legislation, the Commonwealth established one of the nation’s first Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS) programs, mandating the increasing use of renewable resources in its energy mix. Bioenergy, meeting low emissions and advanced technology standards, was recognized as an eligible renewable energy technology. Stimulated by the state’s RPS program, several project development groups have been looking seriously at building large woody biomass generation units in western Massachusetts to utilize the woody biomass resource. As a direct result of this development, numerous stakeholders have raised concerns and have prompted the state to take a leadership position in pursuing a science based analysis of biomass impacts on forest and carbon emissions, and proceed through a rulemaking process to establish prudent policy to support biomass development which can contribute to the state’s carbon reduction commitments and maintain safeguards for forest sustainability. The Massachusetts Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative (SFBI) was funded by the Department of Energy and started by the Department of Energy Resources before these contentious biomass issues were fully raised in the state, and continued throughout the substantive periods of this policy development. Thereby, while SFBI maintained its focus on the initially proposed Scope of Work, some aspects of this scope were expanded or realigned to meet the needs for groundbreaking research and policy development being advanced by DOER. SFBI provided DOER and the Commonwealth with a foundation of state specific information on biomass technology and the biomass industry and markets, the most comprehensive biomass fuel supply assessment for the region, the economic development impact associated with biomass usage, an understanding of forest management trends including harvesting and fuel processing methods, and the carbon profile of utilizing forest based woody biomass for the emerging biomass markets. Each of the tasks and subtasks have provided an increased level of understanding to support new directives, policies and adaptation of existing regulations within Massachusetts. The project has provided the essential information to allow state policymakers and regulators to address emerging markets, while ensuring forest sustainability and understanding the complex science on CO2 accounting and impacts as a result of biomass harvesting for power generation. The public at large and electricity ratepayers in Massachusetts will all benefit from the information garnered through this project. This is a result of the state’s interest to provide financial incentives to only biomass projects that demonstrate an acceptable carbon profile, an efficient use of the constrained supply of fuel, and the harvest of biomass to ensure forest sustainability. The goals of the Massachusetts Sustainable Forest Bioenergy Initiative as proposed in 2006 were identified as: increase the diversity of the Massachusetts energy mix through biomass; promote economic development in the rural economy through forest industry job creation; help fulfill the state’s energy and climate commitments under the Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard and Climate Protection Plan; assist the development of a biomass fuel supply infrastructure to support energy project demands; provide education and outreach to the public on the benefits and impacts of bioenergy; improve the theory and practice of sustainable forestry in the Commonwealth. Completed project activities summarized below will demonstrate the effectiveness of the project in meeting the above goals. In addition, as discussed above, Massachusetts DOER needed to make some modifications to its work plan and objectives during the term of this project due to changing public policy demands brought forth in the course of the public discourse on this topic. We found that some tasks needed to be adjusted to meet changed conditions. Shortly after the start of SFBI, DOER recognized that establishing demonstration plots within state owned lands was not possible as the state enacted a temporary freeze on all timber harvesting on state lands, to allow for the completion of an assessment of current impacts of this activity and time to develop prudent policies on land conservation. Even more significantly, the state’s energy and environmental Secretary asked DOER to place a “sustainability” criterion for biomass in the RPS regulations, and the passage of the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act in 2008 committed DOER to very carefully consider and assure that biomass energy supported by the RPS met carbon reduction thresholds aligned with the state’s reduction commitments. These needs led to some adjustment of the SFBI scope and objectives to meet the policy challenges. Most notably was the funding and commissioning of the report by the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences which provided the sustainability and carbon impact framework necessary for DOER to move policy forward prudently. The “Manomet Study” has moved this emerging policy issue substantially forward, gained national and international significance, and provided a new look at how the forest sequesters carbon and the effect of the removal of growing stock for energy on future carbon sequestration and atmospheric flux. This activity provided information that supports the objectives of SFBI but to accommodate this work, several subtasks were combined and addressed within the framework of the Manomet research study. The expected outcomes of the SFBI include the development of biomass energy systems that support sustainable forest management, new investment in forestry and fuel supply infrastructure, biomass energy generation that contributes to greenhouse gas mitigation, and job creation in project development and operation and in the rural forestry sector.},
doi = {10.2172/1024804},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2011},
month = {9}
}