The "great hope" : bioenergy in eastern Oregon and its implications for dry forest restoration Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ht24wn370

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  • Oregon has been moving forward with biomass energy development. Large-scale biomass power and cogeneration (producing heat and electricity) have been the focus of the last twenty-five years, while small-scale thermal bioenergy installations (producing heat) have dramatically increased during the last decade. In eastern Oregon, bioenergy is closely linked to restoration objectives for dry mixed conifer forests at risk of uncharacteristic high-severity fire. Bioenergy is frequently identified as potentially able to facilitate fuel reduction treatments, while creating renewable energy and rural economic development. However, the relationship between existing bioenergy installations and restoration activities in the region is not well understood, especially through differences of bioenergy types and scales. To fill this knowledge gap, we explore what factors and conditions have enabled the adoption of thermal and cogeneration bioenergy systems in eastern Oregon within the context of regional forest restoration activities. Our study suggests that this "great hope" for bioenergy is dependent on site- specific attributes that interact to influence project outcomes, frequently in ways that complicate forest restoration objectives. While thermal bioenergy systems appear to be more financially, socially, and environmentally feasible, they are limited in their ability to act as a meaningful mechanism to accomplish fuel reduction treatments because of attributes related to scale. In contrast, cogeneration is better able to create an immediate demand for low-quality biomass on the scale that some suggest is needed for restoration, but is limited in its development because of attributes related to financing and potentially social acceptance. We use a case study approach, focusing on Grant County and drawing selectively from Wallowa and Harney Counties for a regional context.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Laura Wilson(laura.wilson@oregonstate.edu) on 2014-03-24T23:13:14Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 2 license_rdf: 1232 bytes, checksum: bb87e2fb4674c76d0d2e9ed07fbb9c86 (MD5) NussMeaganL2014.pdf: 4326248 bytes, checksum: 5f28ef5815ae67cf34d1fbd040ee6776 (MD5)
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