One Kind of Renewable Energy the Candidates Aren’t Talking About…

firewood-renewable-energyThere’s no denying that a hot button topic being touched upon in the recent Presidential debates is renewable energy. As voters, we take in all of the conversations about energy; increased energy independence, the prevalence of fracking, a growing wind energy industry, keeping an eye on how low our natural gas prices are, failed companies like Solyndra, how much of our electricity comes from renewable energy, and so on.

But there’s a really unique type of renewable energy that’s hardly being discussed at all, and it’s also a throwback method that is very familiar to most Americans – Wood energy. Yes, you read that correctly. The act of relying on a classic wood-burning fireplace as a means to heat your home is regaining popularity.

How can this dated and often-overlooked form of energy be making a comeback, you might ask?

Well, based on a recently-released article by National Geographic, one main reason circles around cost-effectiveness. One couple cited in the article states they have reduced their annual energy costs in half from the average energy consumer! How? By combining to burn wood and using approximately one 275-gallon tank of natural gas each year, rather than refilling their natural gas tank 4 or 5 times annually, they have seen an impressive drop in cost. Whereas some people are spending over $5,000/yr, the couple spends a combined total of $2,000/yr. With this said, despite any stigma associated with the nature of wood-burning, any time that a cash-strapped consumer is able to shave that much cash off their bills annually for the same quality of service is worth some honest consideration.

Furthermore, the modern age of wood-burning has evolved from the sooty days of yesteryear. Cleaner, more modern energy-conserving pellet stoves have replaced archaic 19th century technology. Advanced wood pellets are also gaining popularity amongst wood users. The pellets are created by waste wood and sawdust in mills, which are compressed together to create a more environmentally-friendly product to be purchased by the end user.

Wood energy is not only gaining popularity in the United States, either. Based on an article posted by Yahoo, European demand for the same wood pellets mentioned above is expected to triple by 2020 because of recent global policies that are stifling coal-fired utilities. Because of the sudden demand for wood, states with an abundance of trees (like Mississippi, for example) are beginning to prepare for steady gains in the industry. The powers that be are considering better methods of transportation like freight trains, instead of diesel-guzzling semis, to transport their wood products to the eastern shore.

Ultimately, the end result from the suddenly-booming wood industry will be American economic growth, and that’s no small news. In the meantime, keep your eyes open to the real alternative energies at our disposal for the near future, like wood!

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