Biomass refers to burning solid, biological materials (primarily wood) for energy. Vermont has two power plants that produce electricity from biomass, the 20.5 MW Ryegate Generating Station and the 50 MW McNeil Generating Station in Burlington. The scientific understanding of the climate, health, and ecological impacts of biomass burning has become much stronger since these power stations were built, and now shows clearly that this kind of energy production is unnecessary, dangerous, and damaging to the climate and biodiversity whether or not the wood is said to be harvested sustainably.

 Much of this understanding was recently summarized in the paper, "Does wood bioenergy help or harm the climate". The graphics below show what the latest science relating to biomass burning and forest management tells us. Take a look at what scientists now understand about the impact of power plants like McNeil.  If you are interested in taking a deeper dive, click the link above to read the full paper, as well as our Resources page for more peer reviewed scientific articles.