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(en) France, Alternative Libertaire AL #290 - Energy Alternatives, Biomass and fight against climate change (fr, it, pt)[machine translation]

Date Fri, 1 Feb 2019 09:23:27 +0200

The question of the conversion of coal-fired power plants, the closure of which is planned for 2022, poses many social and environmental questions that can only be solved satisfactorily in the context of a convergence of social and ecological struggles. ---- Concretely biomass is to use logs to heat, put in the tank of his car a " biofuel ", produce methane from agricultural residues or electricity in biomass thermal power stations ... ---- However, if using agricultural residues or logging is a common sense, cultivating plants or cutting trees specifically for energy use of biomass helps to increase deforestation and divert agricultural land from food production. .
We will not dwell on the so-called biofuels that today combine the negative consequences. The development of bio-methane production on farms seems much more promising. It allows the recovery of waste to produce both a renewable energy and an organic fertilizer.

The use of forest waste to eventually produce electricity raises much more complex questions and can not find a single answer. It is mainly this question that we are going to deal with here, in particular by examining a conversion project for the Cordemais coal-fired power plant near Nantes.

Power plants at Biomasse ?
Certainly the project presented is based on the recovery of residues from the size of gardens, wood waste building or wood industry. But as the director of the Cordemais plant notes, " it must be demonstrated that these wood resources can be found locally " [1]. Friends of the Earth believes that the reconversion project will require significant logging. " Such a supply would lead to an increase in truck transport and a very strong pressure on the resource on the entire Atlantic coast " [2].

Other considerations are raised. In particular, the combustion of wood waste polluted by paints, varnishes, glues or others, can cause the emission of pollutants dangerous to public health which could not be treated by the filters provided for the combustion of coal.

Finally, it is the size of the installation that poses a problem. Thermal power plants convert about 33 % of the energy consumed into electricity. Cogeneration systems make it possible to use the rest of the energy to inject it into local heating networks. But the amount of heat produced in Cordemais makes such a system inapplicable. This is why the Friends of the Earth advocate that " rather than finance a reconversion project whose viability is uncertain, the government should make the choice to (...) boost new industrial sectors in the territories, compatible with the ecological transition " .

While the need to converge social and ecological struggles is increasingly necessary in our daily struggles, a fight for a dry closure of coal plants, without leading a real fight for the construction of biomass plants to meet the needs ecological is harmful to ecological combat. It is time for trade unionists and ecologists to talk to each other and fight for joint reconversion projects that will prevent the workers of the power stations from being the turkeys of the government's pseudo-ecology joke. So, does the Cordemais reconversion project have to be - at least temporarily - implemented ?

Jacques Dubart (AL Nantes)

[ 1 ] Le Monde of July 9, 2018

[ 2 ] www.amisdelaterre.org

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