In a speedbump for the accelerating biomass industry in the European Union, the Dutch Parliament on February 25 voted to stop issuing new subsidies for 50 planned forest biomass-for-heat plants, a rare industry setback cheered by the country’s biomass opponents and shrugged off by the industry itself. The vote came with a caveat: current annual subsidies of €578.5 million ($698 million) will remain in place for existing Dutch biomass plants — some 200 of which produce heat, while four power plants are co-fired with coal and biomass. The plants primarily burn wood pellets imported from the Southeast United States and Eastern Europe. Dutch policy could change further, biomass critics say. The general election for the Dutch House of Representatives is set for March 17 and public opposition to subsidizing burning wood pellets to make energy stands at 98%, according to a 2020 Dutch survey by De Telegraaf, the country’s largest newspaper. A clearcut documented in the US Southeast in the spring of 2019 when investigators tracked logging trucks from a mature hardwood forest en-route to a North Carolina wood pellet manufacturing facility. Credit: Dogwood Alliance. Maarten Visschers and Fenna Swart lead two separate conservation groups. They and others have aggressively lobbied Dutch elected officials for years to reduce the country’s dependence on woody biomass — which accounts for 61% of the heat and energy generated for the country’s 17.3 million people. They told Mongabay that the February 25 vote marked “a huge victory.” “The vote came just before our national…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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