The Energy Boom You Haven't Heard About: Wood Pellets
It's feeding Europe's energy needs, but how green is burning wood?
Europe is importing the pellets in ever higher volumes, burning them for electricity to meet renewable energy targets. The demand has transformed the U.S. industry, prompting a doubling of biomass exports last year.
More than half of the exports go to the United Kingdom, where the utility Drax is converting three of its six power plants to burn wood pellets instead of coal. Drax is setting up shop in the U.S. to feed those plants, building two pellet mills in Louisiana and Mississippi that are slated to open next year.
Maryland-based Enviva, a Drax supplier, has opened five wood pellet mills in the last four years. At least four additional export-focused plants are under construction in the South, and a