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BIOMASS ENERGY INITIATIVE

Forest Stewardship is critical to the health of Maryland’s environment and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. But, healthy forests are the result of deliberate maintenance and management, which costs money to accomplish. Creating markets for the wood material products that are generated by forest maintenance could help cover these costs and provide local economic benefits, jobs and wages. Demand for wood material products not used for construction and manufacturing could also serve as an affordable, sustainable, locally accessible, source of energy using advanced energy technologies. How does this renewable energy opportunity balance with forest conservation and preservation priorities? 
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BIOMASS ENERGY WEBINAR SERIES

This 2020 webinar series highlights how Maryland commercial and institutional consumers can benefit from the adoption of thermal biomass energy solutions, through case study examples of successful projects and discussions covering a range of economic, operational, environmental, policy, and regulatory considerations.

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Economic & Environmental Opportunities for Woody Biomass in Maryland

Maryland has an untapped supply of energy that could diversify and expand our renewable energy portfolio, help local economies, and maintain or improve forest health without increasing carbon emissions: woody biomass. In this series of webinars, we will share information, listen to concerns, and address challenges to using woody biomass to meet MD's energy needs and support sustainable forest management. View the Session Overview or Q&A Transcript (updated 6/18/20).

Watch the Webinar 1 Recording

Economic Framework - Supporting Forest Conservation with Woody Biomass Energy

Using woody biomass for energy has positive impacts on forest health, when the right policy framework is in place. It is important for educated stakeholders to work together to create sound policies for sustainable forest management using woody biomass for energy. View the Session Overview. The Q&A Transcript will be available, soon.

Watch the Webinar 2 Recording

Environmental Framework - Incentivizing Woody Biomass Energy & Regulating Carbon Emissions

Using woody biomass for energy has neutral impacts on carbon emissions when the right policy and regulatory framework are in place. It is important for educated stakeholders to work together to create sound policies and regulations for the harvest and use of woody biomass for energy. View the Session Overview. The Q&A Transcript will be available, soon.

Watch the Webinar 3 Recording

Biomass Energy Systems - Operation

Woody biomass is already available in abundance in Maryland but, the use of this renewable fuel source for energy, as an alternative to fossil fuels, has not been widely adopted. Best management practices of ‘right-sizing’ designs for modern current and evolving technologies allow for this type of energy solution to be cost-effective and meet air quality standards.

This session offers a high-level synopsis of various wood energy applications: low temperature boiler, thermal storage, distributed heating, etc. These examples cover diverse uses: industrial processing, university campuses, hospitals, schools, and part-year heating. View the Session Overview. The Q&A Transcript will be available, soon.

Watch the Webinar 4 Recording

Wood Energy Systems in Commercial and Industrial Settings - View Slides 

Biomass Energy Systems - Economics & Finance

Woody biomass is already made in abundance in Maryland. However, the use of this renewable fuel source for energy, as an alternative to fossil fuels, has not been widely adopted. Project design and financing technical assistance is available. View the Session Overview or Q&A Transcript.

Watch the Webinar 5 Recording

BIOMASS ENERGY UTILIZATION WHITEPAPER

All energy systems and each consumption choice we make comes with associated impacts and trade-offs. The impacts of these choices vary depending upon several factors and conditions, including technology and available alternatives. Bioenergy and the use of woody biomass for thermal or electric energy production are important strategies for reducing the dependence on fossil fuel energy sources and for shifting toward the use of alternative renewable energy resources.

Maryland’s current renewable energy policy emphasizes solar and wind with limited opportunity offered for biomass energy. The Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act (GGRA) mentions the use of wood for thermal energy but is not being strongly pursued. Barriers to the use of wood resources to meet renewable energy and climate change mitigation goals could be reduced through policy changes that balance the incentives associated with diverse sources of renewable energy and by emphasizing opportunities to use wood in thermal energy applications to displace fossil fuel consumption.

Research shows that strong markets for forest products, including biomass markets, can support keeping forests as forests and contribute to diverse goals for forest health and resiliency. In general, use of biomass from residues, waste materials, low-value materials or sustainably managed forests in highly efficient systems provide the greatest carbon benefits in comparison to non-renewable, fossil-fuel based systems.

Barriers to the use of wood resources to meet renewable energy and climate change mitigation goals could be reduced through policy changes that balance the incentives associated with diverse sources of renewable energy and by emphasizing opportunities to use wood in thermal energy applications to displace fossil fuel consumption.

This paper addresses environmental concerns and potential impacts associated with development of woody biomass energy in Maryland. The paper relies upon research findings and comparisons of alternative energy systems. Concerns that are addressed include effects on forest harvest rates and health, carbon emissions, and policy considerations.

These programs and resources are offered in association with the Spurring Fossil Free- Biomass initiative, brought to you by the Maryland Forestry Foundation and Maryland Clean Energy Center in partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Sustainable Forestry Council, with funding from the Maryland Agricultural Education and Rural Development Assistance Fund.

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