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Title: Modeling economic and carbon consequences of a shift to wood-based energy in a rural 'cluster'; a network analysis in southeast Alaska

Author: Saah, David; Patterson, Trista; Buchholz, Thomas; Ganz, David; Albert, David; Rush, Keith.;

Date: 2014

Source: Ecological Economics

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Integrated ecological and economic solutions are increasingly sought after by communities to provide basic energy needs such as home heating, transport, and electricity, while reducing drivers of and vulnerability to climate change. Small rural communities may require a coordinated approach to overcome the limitations of economies of scale. Low-carbon development strategies present potential for large payoffs at a household and community scale. Southeast Alaskan forests previously harvested for timber are currently re-growing and require thinning to maintain ecosystem service benefits such as wildlife habitat and hunting. Thinned material presents a potential biofuel source. However, without verification among decision alternatives, communities may not have the momentum, vision, or conviction to stimulate a shift to a new energy source.We present a network approach to evaluating multiple energy delivery pathways, and a calculation of carbon, energy, and dollar savings presented by each pathway. We quantify chain of production impacts; from the point of energy extraction and transport (upstream), through consumption and emission accounting (downstream). Our findings suggest substantial greenhouse gas emission savings of over 70% as well as heating cost savings for all bioenergy scenarios compared to fossil fuel scenarios. Outputs can facilitate dialog between land managers, planners, community members and decision-makers.

Keywords: Carbon accounting, Forest residue based biomass heating, Carbon lifecycle analysis, Carbon markets, Economic cluster analysis, Bioenergy

Publication Notes:

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.

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Saah, David; Patterson, Trista; Buchholz, Thomas; Ganz, David; Albert, David; Rush, Keith. 2014. Modeling economic and carbon consequences of a shift to wood-based energy in a rural 'cluster'; a network analysis in southeast Alaska. Ecological Economics. 107: 287-298.

 


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