Biomass is carbon neutral. Plants absorb carbon dioxide from the air during photosynthesis and it when converted into energy. This carbon, in whatever form is already in the ecosystem and recycling it into another form does not add new carbon to the atmosphere. Fossil fuels are pumped into the environment as “new carbon” which upsets the balance with obvious results. Since biomass is simply shifting the existing carbon from one form to another, it can be used indefinitely without risk.
When biomass is left to decay in the forest or the landfill, it can produce harmful methane gas. This green house gas (GHG) is captured in the biomass energy production process. The biomass power industry sustainably removes more than 25 million tons of organic residue material and 67 million tons of forest residues each year. Most of these residue materials would have been dumped in a landfill or left in forests to create a dangerous fire hazard. All told, the energy produced from biomass reduces new carbon emissions from fossil fuels by 15.2 million tons per year.
Biomass is a $10 billion industry which supports over 66,000 jobs in the United States. It is estimated that six full time jobs are created for each megawatt of power generated by biomass. Currently 4% of our country's energy needs are supplied by biomass leaving substantial room for expansion of this segment of the economy.
A robust commerce is created by the production of energy crops such as fast growing trees, shrubs and grasses. These crops, which will grow on land not suitable for food production, require fewer resources than food crops and provide diversity of production to farmers, reducing risks from fluctuating markets all of which helps stabilize farm income .