Burning wood waste for energy not entirely a clear-cut call

Forest management in British Columbia is coming under scrutiny as the province's drive to develop a bioenergy industry moves into the beetlekilled pine stands of the central Interior.

B.C. is committed to using wood to generate electricity - BC Hydro has already conducted two calls for proposals on bioenergy projects - but questions are being raised by scientists and environmentalists alike on how much wood can be removed and whether or not it truly is a carbon-neutral source of energy.

Leading the fray against bioenergy is Greenpeace, which released a report Nov. 2 calling for tighter controls on harvesting biomass, more detailed carbon accounting, and restricting bioenergy projects to small, local operations.