McNeil Generating Station

Facing climate change: Vermont’s biggest polluters

The J.C. McNeil plant in Burlington's Intervale generates electricity for Burlington, mostly from wood. Photo courtesy Burlington Electric Department

Vermont has the lowest emissions of any state in the country. Even still, its top six polluters release just over 849,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases annually, about 10 percent of Vermont’s total.

Schlossberg: Large-scale biomass energy is not the answer

The latest science has demonstrated that biomass power plants emit higher levels of asthma-causing particulate matter and carcinogenic volatile organic compounds per unit of energy produced than a typical coal plant — debunking biomass industry claims of “clean” energy.

Kropelin: The many benefits of Burlington’s McNeil Station to Vermont

McNeil’s forestry staff works collaboratively with Fish & Wildlife to protect critical habitats and adhere to wood harvesting standards that far exceed any other commercial market in the state

Biomass working group weighs merits of wood-generated power

The Joseph C. McNeil Generating Station in Burlington. VTD/Josh Larkin

Tim Maker from Community Biomass Systems said there are many different ways of combining heat and power but he said the most sensible thing to do is to run biomass systems for thermal purposes and then use any excess heat to generate electricity.

The “biomass” option catches on in Vermont

The Joseph C. McNeil Generator in Burlington, Vt. Photo from Burlington Electric Department.

In Vermont, the “biomass” option is catching on big time, though there are naysayers who argue that biomass incineration requires unacceptable tradeoffs.

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