Burning Wood Pellets Does Not Generate Carbon Neutral Electricity

By Lloyd Alter
August 16, 2022
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, Canada East

The climate impact of burning wood pellets for power is highly contentious. While some say it’s carbon neutral, environmentalists rightfully point out it’s not. Now, there’s a shift in the conversation that suggests the chips are down for wood pellets.  United Kingdom-based Drax Group, the world’s largest biomass-burning power generator, converted coal-fired generating plants to burn wood pellets, mostly imported from the southern U.S. states. The company has also been buying up pellet factories in British Columbia, Canada, and shipping them halfway around the world through the Suez Canal and then to Yorkshire. Because they are not fossil fuels, burning pellets has generally been considered carbon neutral. …At least, that’s the story from Drax and the British government—and they are sticking to it, from Yorkshire to British Columbia. But for many environmentalists, this never made any sense. 

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