RICHMOND, VA, April 9, 2018 (Richmond Times-Dispatch) -Virginia is a leader in developing an innovative and diverse energy marketplace to ensure the state’s economy will remain competitive well into the future. However, a new regulation being developed by the Department of Environmental Quality could create an unprecedented threat to one of the pillars of Virginia’s energy future.
Forest biomass powers Virginia’s economy. More than 27,000 Virginians make a living in the commonwealth’s forestry and forest products industry, which includes manufacturers of pulp, paper, packaging, tissue, and wood products. They make nearly $7.4 billion in products, earn a total payroll of almost $1.5 billion a year, and generate annual state and local tax revenue of $155 million. Forest biomass also powers many of the facilities in which this economic activity takes place.
Paper and wood products mills in Virginia and around the country use forest biomass residuals from their manufacturing processes to power their operations, reducing their need to purchase electricity from the grid and making use of material that could otherwise be sent to landfill. Power generated throughout that process does not contribute to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. According to research in the Journal of Industrial Ecology, using residuals this way produces a greenhouse gas reduction benefit over a single year equal to removing 1 million cars from the road.
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