Scottish Biomass Burners Cancelled – Southern Forests Get Respite

In late 2012, Dogwood Alliance Campaign Director, Scot Quaranda, testified as an expert witness in opposition to the Forth Energy proposal for new biomass utilities in Scotland. Late last week, the company cancelled its plans to build these new facilities. Below is a press release from Dogwood Alliance and our allies at BiofuelWatch and Global Justice Ecology Project celebrating the announcement and placing it into larger context:
Smiling Oak
Press release:

Bad news for biomass industry: failed investment marks a sobering conclusion to the annual industry event in Orlando

Last week was the annual International biomass industry conference, held in Orlando Florida. Industry executives from around the world attended to learn about the latest technologies, discuss biomass “supply chains” and network.  This year’s event featured a special “pellet supply chain summit” where the topic of discussion is the rapidly escalating export of Southern U.S. forests to Europe, where they are burned in old coal plants or stand-alone biomass electricity facilities.

But, even as the conference attendees were out on the golf course making deals, or laying plans for pellet supply chains, Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) announced they would withdraw financial backing for several major biomass electricity facilities that those supply chains would likely have served. The facilities affected by the decision, owned by Forth Energy, include two 100MWe biomass electric facilities in Grangemouth and Rosyth (already granted consent), and a third in Dundee (not yet consented.) (1)

Scot Quaranda from Dogwood Alliance, a group working to protect forests in the Southern U.S., stated, “The loss of finance for Forth Energy facilities is great news for our forests! European energy companies are setting up shop throughout the Southern U.S., cutting and pelletizing trees and shipping them across the Atlantic to be burned as so-called renewable energy. We even found them targeting remaining pockets of endangered Atlantic coastal forests.”(2)

Rachel Smolker, codirector of Biofuelwatch, an organization that works on both sides of the Atlantic and worked with community groups opposing the facilities, stated, “Residents in the communities where Forth wants to build biomass facilities are rightly concerned about air pollution. Burning biomass is filthy – resulting in more particulates and more CO2 per unit of energy generation even than coal, but nonetheless subsidized as clean, green and renewable.”(3)

Meanwhile, Anne Petermann, from Global Justice Ecology Project stated, “The tree biotechnology industry has their scopes aimed at supplying massive amounts of wood for energy, including plantations of Genetically Engineered (GE) eucalyptus across the southern tier of the US. But with growing public resistance to GE trees and investor wariness in the biomass industry, their scheme is poised to fail.”


[1] Reported by the Dundee Courier here: and confirmed over the phone by Forth Energy on 27th March 2014.

[2] Dogwood Alliance documented the use of whole trees and destruction of ancient wetland forests in the southern US by pellet supplier Enviva, who export to the UK. Forth Energy had indicated potential to source pellets from this area. For more information see Dogwood Alliance campaign “Our forests aren’t fuel” and Biofuelwatch’s new report “Biomass: the Chain of Destruction”

[3] For a list of studies into the carbon impacts of biomass electricity: Also see  “Dirtier than coal?” published by RSPB, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace.

For an overview of health impacts from biomass facility air pollution  (

And statements from medical professionals here:

[4] For an overview of tree biotechnology plans for the southern US:


Scot Quaranda, Campaign Director, Dogwood Alliance. Phone: 828 251 2525 ext 18. Email: [email protected]

Rachel Smolker, Codirector Biofuelwatch. Phone: 802 482 2848 (office) 802 735 7794 (mobile).  Email: [email protected]

Anne Petermann, Executive Director, Global Justice Ecology Project, Phone: 716 931 5833 (office), 802 578 0477 (mobile). Email: [email protected]

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