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China Brings Biomass "Farming" to Wales, England—and the Environmental Costs Will Cross the Atlantic

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Feb 8, 2016 1:32:44 PM

With the purchase of two biomass plants in Wales, a Chinese company will control the power source for 650,000 European homes, and impact forests as far away as the U.S.Chinese_Wales_Biomass_Plant.jpg

Set aside the complicated questions of biomass and air pollution for a moment. The UK has been aggressively converting coal plants to biomass for several years now, but there's a huge disconnect between this choice, and the reality of the island nation's resources. Now, a giant China-backed investment firm, SinoFortone Group, is investing big in the energy future of Europe.

As far back as 2011, environmentalists writing fror Red Pepper noted the disparity in fuel and biomass burning:

"The UK’s total wood production (for all purposes) is only 10 million tonnes annually. Planning consent has been granted for five coal power stations to partly or fully convert to wood. Those power stations alone will burn almost five times the UK’s annual wood production every year.

Not surprisingly then, the UK Bioenergy Strategy confirms that 80 per cent of biomass is expected to be imported. Most imports so far are from British Columbia and the southern US, two regions where highly biodiverse and carbon-rich forests are being clearcut at an ever faster rate."

Of the two plants in Wales being purchased, one will burn 1.8 metric tons of biomass. The other will burn 1.6 tons. That's about a third of the UK's entire annual wood production--which is already largely spoken for by other plants. In our view, this is a bad deal for all concernerd. Nation states should not be trading fossil fuel dependency for dependency on the precious natural resources/habitats of other countries.

More on the China-Wales deal HERE

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