Graduation Date

Spring 2021

Document Type



Master of Science degree with a major in Natural Resources, option Forestry, Watershed, & Wildland Sciences

Committee Chair Name

Erin C. Kelly

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Kevin Fingerman

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Laurie Richmond

Subject Categories



Since the 1990s, there has been a decline in biomass energy generation in California. In order to promote state governmental policies aiming to increase biomass energy generation in California, the sector has been linked to a series of external benefits that biomass energy purportedly brings. Through document analysis, semi-structured interviews, and participant observation, five distinct external benefits were identified that have been used to promote the biomass energy sector. These external benefits are: renewable energy generation, air quality improvements, promotion of forest restoration and fuel removal projects, disposal of wood waste from agricultural and forestry sectors, and rural economic development. This study finds that the external benefits that are found in stakeholder discussions and legislative language reflect current events and politics that impact California, particularly as they relate to wildfire and forest management. There were three notable complications to creating policies that support biomass energy: disagreements about where along the supply chain biomass energy should be subsidized; questions centered on whether external benefits justify policy initiatives; and doubts about whether the external benefits claimed by biomass energy proponents were the best way to meet policy objectives.

Citation Style