I-732 puts a price on carbon-polluting products that makes collection of many waste products competitive with fossil energy costs.
- Collecting forest residuals made economically attractive by I-732 can displace coal used in electric utilities or natural gas for heat reducing fossil emissions.
- Collecting demolition wastes displace natural gas for industrial heating or district heating (such as serving downtown Seattle).
- Many landfills currently do not capture their released gases for energy. The higher price on fossil emissions will motivate landfills to more completely capture the gases from decomposition of buried wastes, which can then be burned (both consuming the gas and creating economic value).
- The increased value of biofuels resulting from I-732 will promote co-product use of biofuels and existing fossil fuels. This also avoids the capital losses resulting from a complete shutdown of the infrastructure currently used solely for fossil fuel plants.
- The increased value of biofuel feedstocks applies to a wide range of agricultural wastes as well as forest wastes. This will increase the scale of energy-producing facilities (and decrease the share of fossil fuels consumed) making the energy more cost-effective and better mitigating carbon emissions.
- Collecting wastes for recycled products or biofuels to displace fossil-intensive products and fuels also reduces particulate emissions from other disposal alternatives.
Without I-732’s fossil carbon tax, there is no motive for companies to collect waste products that can displace fossil energy products.
By Bruce Lippke, Professor Emeritus, U of WA, Environmental and Forest
Science; President Emeritus, CORRIM, a national Consortium for Research on
Renewable Industrial Materials
Photo: Forest slash ground into a uniform feedstock for boilers