Last week John took me to see Highland Wood Energy, Scotland’s largest biomass heating company. While the idea of burning wood is not particularly new, modern chip and pellet furnaces provide a uniquely sustainable solution for regions with a natural overabundance of wood (whether from natural growth or industrial waste). In particularly isolated regions like the Highlands, the near-zero footprint of wood is an especially attractive alternative to shipping heating oil or gas from where it’s extracted. HWE’s Bruno Berardelli showed me this map (above), which illustrates the oft out-of-the-way locales where their stoves are being installed. Each installation has a strategy for sourcing the wood fuel, which in many cases can be obtained by chipping local wood. As a result, some of the forested islands of Scotland are now self-sustaining in terms of heating fuel. It remains to be seen how sustainable biomass heating will be in the future and whether any other waste streams will be reasonable as ways to heat locally.