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  • Monday, September 21, 2020 11:35 AM | Elizabeth Kress (Administrator)

    In a conversation with a California friend, she said that the fires were caused because Californians did not rake up around their trees or cut up their dead trees.  She was being sarcastic, of course, since most of the forests are federal lands (57%) and the scale is much greater than what individuals can clean up and rake up on their own private property. How do you clean up forests which cover 31.6 million acres? 


    The state of South Carolina is a much different case from California, in that our forests are more managed. Our own dry season results in wildfires which are more easily controlled. California’s hot dry season (and getting hotter) results in catastrophic wildfires over large areas.  We do have our forests - 13 million acres of them, which cover 67% of our state’s area compared to California’s 32% area coverage.  More than just the forests, we have good markets for our trees and our forest products. How does that help us?


    The SC Forestry Commission (SCFC) keeps a good eye on the forest industry in our state. Their Forest Products Mill Directory and Maps show detailed lists and locations for all wood and paper-related manufacturing operations in the state. They have a real understanding of how wood and its many products are used and renewed in South Carolina. Having markets for wood provides income for the landowner, and the SCFC offers lots of good information on how to manage forest lands. The result is that our forests are healthy and well-managed for multiple purposes: recreation, the environment, and consistent income to the owner. 


    The South Carolina Biomass Council has members who are engaged in forest products. Some members make electricity and/or process heat from wood or make wood pellets as a fuel for energy production. These markets for low-value wood serve to clean up our forests. We don’t have to “rake our forest floor” because in SC good management of public and private forests provides much of that service.


    Forest2Market recently published some statistics about the lost value of California’s wood. You can read the full article here. The last 30 days of wildfires could have produced electricity to generate 5,000 GigaWatts running for an entire year, which could have powered California for 62 years at its current use.  The total US electricity generating capacity is only 1,100 GigaWatts.


    Now we are not saying that all California’s dead trees should be burned for electricity. We are saying that a there is a place for wood use to produce energy in a balanced system of trees and forest industry.


  • Wednesday, August 12, 2020 1:41 PM | Elizabeth Kress (Administrator)

    This link is to an excellent summary of the US Timber Market. It explains the true concept that the timber market is the biggest reason that the US keeps its trees. 


    https://www.forest2market.com/blog/how-much-timber-does-the-us-harvest-and-how-is-it-used

  • Monday, June 08, 2020 2:40 PM | Elizabeth Kress (Administrator)

    Read the blog below, or click on the link HERE to go to the blog at the Forest2Market site.


    June 08, 2020 Bioenergy

    Author: Forest2Market


    As we wrote just a few months ago, the ground is beginning to decisively shift regarding the topic of climate change, and broad public recognition and acceptance of the impending consequences associated with it is now rippling through the finance and corporate sectors.

    Many leaders at both political and corporate levels are taking proactive measures in their own camps. Moving beyond the hyperbole, the real discussion is turning from “should something be done,” to “what can be done.” As a result, the wave of public sentiment over climate change is now driving significant changes in investment, corporate and political behavior.

    Biomass power has a significant role to play as state and national energy portfolios are expanding to include more renewable feedstocks, greener resources, and sustainable power generation patterns. As we have demonstrated over the years, woody biomass is a widely available, sustainable and renewable feedstock that has surged in popularity and has been incorporated at scale over the last decade. However, roadblocks continue to create an unlevel economic field that renewable energy providers are forced to play on.

    For carbon-neutral biopower to be broadly deployed in our power generation system, it is necessary for biomass renewable energy to become more economically competitive to fossil energy power generation. This can easily be accomplished if the use of fossil fuels were to carry the associated costs of net carbon addition, which it currently doesn’t have to do. Fossil energy continues to get a “free ride” while enjoying the benefits of favorable tax treatments.

    Advocacy for Renewable Biomass Power

    Currently, the biomass power industry reduces carbon emissions by more than 30 million tons each year and provides 14,000 jobs nationwide, many of which are in rural areas.

    The Biomass Power Association (BPA) recently produced an educational video detailing some of the primary benefits of woody biomass and biomass power. BPA is the nation’s leading organization working to expand and advance the use of clean, renewable biomass power, and the Association represents 80 biomass power plants in 20 states across the US.

    See video on biomass: https://youtu.be/DueF2df52IE

    BPA is a member-driven organization with the goal of increasing the use of biomass power and creating new jobs and opportunities in the biomass industry. BPA is actively involved in the legislative process and supports policies that increase the use of biomass power and other renewable energy sources in America’s energy portfolio. As policymakers at every level explore ways to lower greenhouse gases and reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil, BPA is the leading advocate for a strong commitment to clean, renewable biomass energy.

    Let’s work together to level the economic playing field for biomass renewable power and apply the same subsidy level for CO2 emission avoidance compared to fossil power generation. If that were to be accomplished, the economics of biopower would become instantly competitive and we could finally move forward with large scale deployment of this important element of our renewable energy portfolio.

    Reprinted with permission from Forest2Market


  • Wednesday, April 22, 2020 11:25 AM | Elizabeth Kress (Administrator)

    The SCBC salutes Earth Day as a celebration of all that the earth provides. Here in South Carolina we have a lot of natural resources to appreciate and preserve.


    Through solid and well-informed policy development, South Carolina can be energy independent and preserve its natural resources and beauty. The option to have 100% affordable and abundant clean energy has never been closer to reality than it is today.


    The SC Biomass Council serves as a resource for the general public and decision-makers about the environmental and economic benefits of biomass energy. The SCBC works cooperatively with state legislators, biomass producers and users, and other stakeholders to increase awareness and use of biomass energy.


    South Carolina currently imports the majority of its energy resources and could greatly benefit from utilizing state-produced feedstocks. The objective of the SCBC is to develop a long term strategy to make biomass energy a feasible alternative to traditional power generation and traditional transportation fuels. Since its formation in 2006, the SCBC has made recommendations to enhance biomass utilization in and around the state.


  • Friday, April 10, 2020 9:30 AM | Elizabeth Kress (Administrator)

    The SC Biomass Council recognizes that a bioeconomy can include more than the expansion of bio-based fuels. The development of new bio-based products, and especially those that substitute for petroleum-based products, can move the world further along to reduce atmospheric carbon. 


    South Carolina's Hartsville-based Sonoco announced an innovative sugarcane fiber product that is produced here in the US. Read the recent press release here or at the link below.


    Congratulations to Sonoco for being named to Barron's top 100 Sustainable Companies. 


    https://investor.sonoco.com/news-releases/news-release-details/new-100-us-sourced-sugarcane-fiber-bowl-sonoco-answers-demand

  • Thursday, February 20, 2020 12:58 PM | Elizabeth Kress

    In 2019, Atlantic Power Corporation acquired two wood-fueled biomass-to-energy operations in South Carolina. The purchase from EDF -Renewable Energy group included a facility in Dorchester County, and a nearly identical facility in Allendale County. EDF-RE was divesting of its biomass holdings to focus on its wind and solar portfolio, while Atlantic Power has a strong focus on biomass operations, as well as natural gas and hydro holdings. Forested timberlands occupy approximately two-thirds (12.3 million acres) of South Carolina’s land area, and timber is South Carolina’s largest cash crop. The two South Carolina plants are located in a well-developed wood products market.


    The biomass-fueled facilities of Atlantic Power include eight plants in the US and Canada. The additional biomass plants are in Michigan (Cadillac and Grayling -30% owned); Ontario (Hearst); North Carolina (New Bern, 50% owned); Georgia (Barnesville) and British Columbia (Williams Lake). Production capability ranges from 20 to 66MW in size.


    Atlantic Power is strategically sharing experience and resources among its biomass leadership and has emphasized the role of plant support with its headquarters staff, resulting in a lean and responsive corporate structure. For more information about this company, you may access the 2018 annual report here.


  • Friday, January 31, 2020 9:58 AM | Elizabeth Kress

    Lauren Phipps reports in Circular Weekly that Adidas has committed to increase the content of recycled polyester (rPET) in its garments, joining other apparel companies. Creating a demand for recycled polymers is an important driver for our recycling programs in South Carolina and the US. The recycled materials market took a huge hit when Asian countries restricted imports from the US. 


    Lauren wrote a good discussion of what choices we make in recycling plastics. Read the full article here.

  • Monday, January 27, 2020 3:56 PM | Elizabeth Kress

     

    State Forester Scott Phillips announced the economic impact of forestry in South Carolina citing the agency's most recent Economic Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) study. In detailing the $21.2 billion impact that the allied sectors of forestry and forest products-related industries generate on the Palmetto State's economy, Phillips also revealed that forestry provides more than 98,000 jobs and $4.9 billion in labor income. The forestry industry has certainly paved the way for biomass production and job creation in SC. The study reveals significant job growth in the forestry sector since 2017. The full study is available here

  • Wednesday, October 10, 2018 10:40 AM | Elise Fox (Administrator)

    We are proud to announce the recipients of the 2018 Biomass Awards:


    Advocate of the Year

    Tim Adams

    SC Forestry Service

    Citation: In recognition of exceptional service to South Carolina as an outstanding steward of its forestry and biomass resources.


    Project of the Year

    Green Energy Biofuel

    Warrenville, SC

    Citation: In recognition of its investment and revitalization of an idle 40 million gallon per year (MMgy) biodiesel facility located in Warrenville, SC and their decade long investment in SC's biofuel economy.


    The awards will be conferred on Thursday, November 15. Additional details and registration for the event can be found at www.scbiomass.org/events

  • Friday, January 20, 2017 8:49 AM | Elise Fox (Administrator)

    In 2016, the SC Energy Office embarked on its ambitious plan to develop a new Energy Plan for the State of South Carolina.  The SCBC is thankful for the opportunity to participate in the effort and we made four recommendations to the Renewables Subcommittee, three of which were accepted and will be incorporated into the plan, pending approval by the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission.  The Energy Plan is currently in final preparation stages and will hopefully be submitted to the PURC for approval in February.  We will keep you posted on the outcome of our recommendations.  Further information on the Energy Plan can be found at: http://www.energy.sc.gov/node/2331?pc=2332.  Our recommendations accepted for consideration by the Renewables Subcommittee were as follows:

    • 1.      Develop a Plan for Acceptable Use of Beneficial Waste-to-Energy in South Carolina

    Challenge:  Problematic wastes streams that cannot be recycled exist throughout the state which could be utilized for waste-to-energy, rather than landfilling. This requires defining preferred pathways for these waste streams which are acceptable from the environmental standpoint, then providing encouragement or incentive to develop.

    Background: There are significant waste streams (often biomass-based) which could be funneled to a beneficial use by using a waste-to-energy process.  Sometimes, this can involve a commonly used waste product such as waste wood from land-clearing or timbering which has no market locally in a particular region due to the economic limitation of freight costs.  At other times, this could be a state-wide need for a beneficial waste use.

    The South Carolina Department of Commerce has a committee named RMDAC (Recycling Market Development Advisory Council) which is tasked with finding markets for recycled materials, and could help with determining the waste stream availability. DHEC also has responsibility for waste accounting and supervision in the state, as well as for air and water quality when the waste is processed. The SC Energy Office monitors energy use and production in the state. Among these entities, the knowledge and responsibility could be harnessed to develop best practices for utilizing these wastes, and then incentivizing the preferred pathways.

    Recommended Approach: Establish a task force, under the guidance of RMDAC and including other related stakeholders, to identify the economically significant waste streams that are unutilized in the state. Prioritize developing beneficial uses for the waste streams, based on economic and environmental benefit. Make recommendations for incentives that could result in creation of new waste-to-energy projects to meet this need. Create marketing assistance (exchanges, or buyer-seller lists and maps) for waste streams when this would be helpful.

    Timeframe:  Begin upon approval, and continue with yearly reassessments of relevant changes.

    • 2.       Increasing the utilization of forestry byproducts, tree trimmings, and waste wood

    Challenge:  South Carolina’s forestry industry is already a major economic contributor to the state and there are forestry byproducts and residuals that could add incremental revenues to landowners and forest products processers if nearby markets were available. Additionally, tree trimmings and other forms of wood waste can be diverted from landfills for beneficial use as fuel wood. 

    Background: More nuclear generation will be incorporated in South Carolina’s electric generation mix (with no load-following capability), along with more solar generation at utility-scale and behind the meter in homes and businesses. As restrictions on coal or the desire to reduce coal use increase, the need for load-following and peaking units becomes more important. Only natural gas, hydro, biomass, and energy storage are left as dispatchable generating resources that can adjust with load variation.  The current price of natural gas generation drives utilities to run these units as base-load so that there is less ability to use them for peaking or load-follow capacity. There is very limited ability to expand hydro generation.  As a result of these constraints, the increased use of electric generation that uses waste wood could be beneficial to the utilities. Waste wood as a fuel also provides emission benefits and economic benefits to the state, especially in the rural economy. Forestry jobs would increase, and fuel dollars would be paid to in-state landowners instead of exported to coal or natural gas producing states. Less transport would be required since the wood is available locally in South Carolina.

    Recommended Approach: The South Carolina Forestry Commission monitors the forestry products markets and could provide fuel wood studies to determine where sufficient forestry residuals, forestry byproducts, urban wood waste and suitable tree/yard trimmings exist for wood-fueled generating station sites. A task force of state government, state environmental groups and industry could prepare recommendations to legislators to develop additional in-state electric generation from this resource ensuring no conversion of natural forests.

    Timeframe:  Begin upon approval.

    • 3.       Develop State Support and Implementation of Purposely Grown Crops for Biofuels and Bioenergy

    Challenge:  Purposely grown crops produced for biofuels and bioenergy can serve a significant role in meeting the State’s liquid and solid fuel energy needs.  The challenge will be to identify which biomass crops will be most sustainable for production in South Carolina and to determine the most profitable means to harvest, transport, and store the biomass while minimizing its Carbon footprint. It will be necessary for the costs associated with biomass crops to be competitive with the costs associated with fossil fuels.

    Background: Biomass produced in South Carolina represents significant economic opportunities for the State’s rural landowners and farmers by creating jobs and tax revenues in the agricultural and forestry sector, the current largest industries in the State. Bioenergy crops are generally more drought tolerant and require fewer inputs to produce than traditional food crops, and are well suited for production by limited resource farmers.  They are more adapted for production on the State’s many marginal, sandy soils and are safer for the environment than most food crops.  Current research emphasis on adding bio-product benefits to biomass crops will also result in another revenue stream to farmers and landowners.  Several of the biomass crops offer environmental services such as improving soil quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat, compared to traditional agriculture and forestry land uses. 

    Recommended Approach: Work with Clemson University to develop recommendations and a plan for the use of biomass crops, such as purposely grown trees, perennial grasses, annual sorghum crops, and to a lesser extent food crop residues to be utilized to meet South Carolina energy needs, and contribute to the energy independence and the economy of South Carolina.

    Timeframe:  Begin upon approval


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