Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Paper-Energy and Emissions-What does it all mean?

When you think about buying paper something else to think about is whether or not it is being produced using renewable energy. Most paper mills are claiming the use of "renewable energy", but what is that? Well, there are a couple of ways that companies can claim this, one is by purchasing green power directly from a renewable energy power plant and secondly by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) and lastly by generating their own renewable energy on site.

When companies directly purchase the renewable energy it is directly fed by green-power plants and if on the same grid, they can purchase directly from their utility. Most of these suppliers offer either a percentage of electricity usage or more commonly a fixed number of units or blocks of kilowatt-hours.

Renewable Energy Certificates are the most common way paper mills achieve the claim of green power. These certificates provide a subsidy to designated renewable energy sources, such as, solar, wind, geothermal, hydroelectric and biomass power plants and by doing this it will make them more competitive in the energy market and allow them to sell this energy at a more reasonable rate closer to local market rates. This encourages the use of renewable energy versus a less expensive fossil fuel or nuclear based power source that can be used as a long-term method of growing the renewable energy infrastructure.

There are a handful of paper mills that actually produce their own renewable energy on site, in most cases by hydroelectric generators. They use low-impact hydroelectric operations that preserve the flow of the river which allows continued fish migration due to maintaining the oxygen levels. This type of renewable energy is called on-site generation and the best part is it lowers the demand on the power grid.

Most companies are also reducing atmospheric carbon emissions by becoming carbon neutral. To achieve this you can lower carbon emission directly by lowering consumption and by promoting activities that aid the natural process of carbon reduction. Paper mills have been working toward preserving the wilderness near and around their plants to achieve carbon neutrality.

As you can see we as consumers demand a lot from our paper companies and they have risen to the top and continue to work towards a better cleaner future.

1 comment:

LC David said...
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