Converting to pellet fuel from heating oil and natural gas in US Northeast could create 1.3 million domestic jobs, lower carbon emissions, study says

LOS ANGELES , December 10, 2013 () – If rural Northeast U.S. homes converted to renewable pellet fuel from oil or propane for heating, the economy would see benefits that include more than 1.3 million new jobs, according to a new study, Biomass Magazine reported on Dec. 5.

The study, published by FutureMetrics Inc. and entitled “How the Northern States can Heat with Renewable Energy and Create Jobs and Economic Growth while Significantly Lowering Carbon Emissions," explores the negative impacts of petroleum-based fuels on the environment and the economy.

FutureMetrics estimates that about 770,000 jobs are exported to countries that supply petroleum for the heating fuel used in the northern tier states.

The report’s author, William Strauss, explains that while there is not enough forest feedstock in the current market conditions to fuel heating for 6 million homes, forest resources could be freed up as demand for paper--and therefore the paper industry’s demand for woodfiber--diminishes.

“There is no doubt that [demand for paper] will drop,” said Strauss, Biomass Magazine reported.

Strauss notes several benefits of converting to pellet fuel. Producing pellet fuel would keep almost 100% of every dollar spent in the local economy. Pellet fuel is about half the cost of heating oil, and harvesting, producing and distributing biomass energy creates local jobs. Furthermore, pellet fuel’s carbon emissions are 87% lower than heating oil and 80% lower than natural gas even after accounting for fuels used for logging, trucking and production of pellet fuel.

Access the free paper here.

The primary source of this article is Biomass Magazine, Grand Forks, North Dakota, on Dec. 5, 2013.

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