There are four sources of biomass fuels for generating electricity in southwest Oregon: noncommercial hardwoods, logging residues, mill residues, and municipal solid wastes. Noncommercial hardwoods and logging residues exist in sufficient quantities to support 100 MWe of generating capacity for 20 years. Logging residues are costly to harvest and would result in relatively expensive electricity. Hardwoods, in contrast, are relatively inexpensive to harvest and could be used to produce electicity at a cost only slightly greater than that incurred with coal. A biomass-fueled generating plant would emit slightly more carbon monoxide than a coal-fired plant; however, nitrous oxide emission would be less than one-half, and sulfur dioxide emissions only 1 percent, of those of a plant burning coal. Impacts of biomass harvest on soil fertility, water quality, and traffic patterns would be minor if proper procedures are followed.
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