Bioenergy policy: Problems and solutions
Despite rapid growth in production, policies lag behind
Photo by Brothergrimm on Flickr
Despite the rapid growth of bioenergy, federal and state policies lag behind and market practices are in flux. Without science-based policies in place, bioenergy markets could undermine attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase threats to water quality and wildlife.
Even at low levels of bioenergy generation (i.e. 3% - 5% of total electricity), the demand for biomass could significantly impact farms and forests. The development of new biomass markets is too important and complex a process to be left to chance.
- A few Midwestern and New England states have taken the lead in developing biomass harvest guidelines, which can effectively help protect water quality, wildlife and soils.
- No Southern state has biomass harvest guidelines to assist landowners and loggers in these new markets.
- Energy producers and biofuel manufacturers are still developing corporate governance policies for the harvest and conversion of biomass. EDF is a member of the Council for Sustainable Biomass Production, which is developing a voluntary certification system for biomass.
EDF is creating a model for bioenergy production that is economically viable and protects human health and wildlife.
- We are a trusted resource for developing carbon accounting models.
- We advise public agencies on appropriate biomass harvest practices.
- We join with stakeholders to create workable bioenergy programs.
EDF is working with landowners, businesses and universities to answer the big questions about bioenergy.
- How much biomass harvest is too much?
- What does sustainable utilization entail?
- Can biomass procurement practices enhance conservation outcomes?
EDF's efforts in the United States focus now on the forests of the Southeast and Northeast, which will become models for other regions as bioenergy markets mature.
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Both Republicans and Democrats have been a part of our many policy victories.
Our focus is always on getting the job done, not which party we work with.