Town in Sweden uses biomass and more


While the Peninsula gets into a huge debate with lawsuits, over using wood waste for energy, a town in Sweden adopts to it, adds methane generators and other methods to ween itself off petroleum.  Isn’t it time we put all the pieces together and think outside the box about what can be accomplished rather than what can’t? This article shows that there is a way forward, and that the wood waste might be part of the solution.  The problem is that the process to get a community  consensus is not transparent enough. It generates lawsuits, rather than solutions.

KRISTIANSTAD, Sweden — When this city vowed a decade ago to wean itself from fossil fuels, it was a lofty aspiration, like zero deaths from traffic accidents or the elimination of childhood obesity.

As part of its citywide system, Kristianstad burns wood waste like tree prunings and scraps from flooring factories to power an underground district heating grid.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/11/science/earth/11fossil.html?ref=science

4 Responses

  1. I worry about all the water it will be pulling from the Elwha. What use to take the dams down if the movement of the salmon back into the river is hindered by too-low water. Who is looking at this??

    • Good question, however the water withdrawal from the Elwha is controlled and likely will be controlled by the State Department of Natural Resources or the Department of Ecology, as the species in question are endangered. It already is controlled for just that reason. But I’m not an expert, and there could be some nuance I’m unaware of.

  2. The incinerators proposed in Port Angeles, Port Townsend and other places across the state burn wood to run a steam turbine — 19th century technology that releases damaging air pollutants. Both the gases and particulates threaten human health and the health of our entire ecosystem.

    This Swedish community’s solution shows what’s possible.

    • Yes, Diana I agree. I think that’s the point of the post, is that the opaque way that the local and state officials have handled this, with fast tracking, has led people to think that this has to be all bad. I honestly don’t know whether the proposed boiler conversion is a good, bad or indifferent technology. Some argue, and it certainly seems logical, that if we get some less air pollution, generate electricity that could power our homes, and not harm the environment *more* that we already are, that it seems like a win. That we are not getting clear answers to these questions, is a reason to distrust the process. I’m hoping that the State and local officials will slow this process down before both sides end up in court for a decade. That, is not a viable alternative, because we simply continue the status quo, which is not a good solution either. The electricity they are using now is being generated by dams that continue to kill salmon on the Columbia. To get to a renewable future, it may mean a variety of options, such as this town in Sweden shows is possible.

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