Project

North Carolina's Green Rush

Enviva, the world's largest producer of wood pellets for large-scale commercial energy generation, has three plants in North Carolina with a fourth opening this year. Each plant produces 500,000 tons of wood pellets which are mainly shipped overseas to the United Kingdom and European Union to be burned in former coal-fired power plants. This so-called biomass is considered by US and international policy to be renewable energy because trees can be regrown. Also, because of a disputed Kyoto Protocol provision, the carbon emissions from burning wood are not counted toward a nation's emissions output. This produces controversy on both sides of the Atlantic. Enviva says it is filling a growing market that is good for the environment and not touching natural forests. Environmentalists say Enviva is doing the opposite. These plants are also in some of North Carolina's poorest counties where there are public health concerns. Our stories will seek to examine the local and statewide issues involved with Enviva and the pellet industry at the time when climate change and climate resiliency are a rising priority.