Wednesday, December 10, 2008

New Green Energy Plans Would Create 120 Green Tons of Wood Demand

PRNewswire/ -- RISI today through its Wood Biomass Market Report, indicated that woodfiber will play a major role in any new green energy spending plans in the U.S. The Report stated that as of Dec. 12, estimates from the ever-expanding federal stimulus package suggest the green component (wood, wind, solar, etc.) will be a whopping $50 billion over two years. If 20% falls to wood energy, that near term spending of $10 billion would spur formidable growth, providing tens of thousands of new jobs -- and wood demand of perhaps 120 million green tons, long-term.

Compared to an estimated 215 green tons of consumption currently by the nation's pulp & paper industry, this new demand will be significant, and could create a $3 billion per year wood energy market at current prices. The Report also projects that a good bit of this expansion is already underway, with current projects topping 32 million tons. Wood-derived fuels already account for a full third of the nation's renewable energy, 50% if hydroelectricity were excluded. RISI projects that this increased demand will occur most in the U.S. South, followed by the U.S. West, and then the U.S. North.

Chris Lyddan, Contributing Editor of the Wood Biomass Market Report, comments, "How soon we might see this increase in demand take place ultimately rests heavily in the hands of President-elect Barack Obama and the next Congress." He continued, "Regardless of the actual timing, an ongoing RISI assessment of the plan reveals wholesale changes to forestry and traditional wood users are on the way. More than $13 billion in public and private investment capital was pumped into US clean energy industries in 2007, according to the Department of Energy. Interestingly, the newly proposed government incentives exclude the many billions of dollars of private sector funding required in new projects. As such, wood energy investments could dwarf failing paper and lumber operations in just the next several years, almost an imponderable outcome."

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