Japan’s Forestry Agency is considering plans for building biomass power plants that can use as fuel the large volume of timber debris caused by the earthquake and tsunami of 11 March this year.

The Forestry Agency said the scheme will achieve three objectives: disposal of debris, promotion of a renewable energy source, and invigoration of the forestry industry.

Takashi Shinohara, senior vice minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, said: “Initially, wooden debris will be used for power generation, and when it becomes financially viable, wood thinned from forests will be used.”

According to the Forestry Agency, the disaster generated 23 million tonnes of debris from housing alone, with roughly 70 per cent being wooden. It estimates that a minimum of 4.5 million tonnes is available for use as fuel.

The agency plans to provide plant operators with half the cost of building facilities at five locations, It hopes to secure $10 billion in appropriations.

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