Solar and wind are wonderful, but they are intermittent. Burning wood chips or pellets, as they do in Europe, becomes renewable baseload energy: reliable, dispatchable and sustainable.
Utilizing biomass also offers a hedge against rising electric rates that might result from future escalation in natural gas, coal and uranium prices — all commodities that have historical price fluctuation. Even solar panels have experienced a price increase with the recent tariff imposed by the Administration.
Using a resource like biomass provides clean-tech job opportunities for local economies for plant operators, truck drivers and logging crews. And because those semi-trucks loaded with chips arrive around the clock, biomass provides a steady supply of electricity and steam and it does not depend on the sun shining or the wind blowing.
Administrator Pruitt has made a few mistakes as he has moved from serving at state level to the federal level. It is a steep learning curve and patience is in order. But know this: he is federalizing and reforming an agency that has been heavy-handed, anti-state, and anti-growth. I, for one, am willing to cut him some slack.
Tim Echols is vice-chair of the Georgia Public Service Commission.