The Biomass Thermal Energy Council engages in government affairs advocacy to establish a level playing field for biomass thermal energy. The Council also conducts education and outreach activities to provide policymakers, investors, media, and other stakeholders with accurate information on the benefits of using biomass for heat and CHP (combined heat and power).
Thanks to the support of members, BTEC has had a number of important accomplishments in these areas. Below is a summary of some of the most notable achievements to date.
Leveling the Playing Field
Biomass resources will not be directed to their most efficient uses without technology-neutral energy policy. And the current reality is that less-efficient electricity and transportation end-uses for biomass are heavily incentivized at both the state and federal levels, in addition to the continuing subsidization of fossil fuels and other renewable energy technologies like wind, solar, and geothermal.
Incentives in one sector impact the price of raw biomass materials in all other sectors. America needs a level playing field, where biomass thermal can compete on its merits with biomass power and transportation fuels.
Regulatory Actions and Comments Summary
- Offered recommendations to the House and Senate Committees on Agriculture on structuring the 2012 Farm Bill to promote renewable thermal energy, rural economic growth, and energy independence.
- Secured supporting language on the role of biomass thermal energy in the White House Council on Environmental Quality’s greenhouse gas accounting guidance for federal facilities.
- Through coordinated advocacy and comments, obtained achievable emissions limits and wider use of work practice standards for commercial and industrial biomass boilers in the Environmental Protection Agency’s Boiler MACT rules for Area and Major Source Boilers.
- Worked with industry coalitions to secure a three year deferral on the regulation of biogenic emissions under the Environmental Protection Agency’s Prevention of Significant Deterioration Tailoring Rule for additional scientific study.
- Supported the Environmental Protection Agency’s development of a U.S Heat Metering Standard.
Legislative Accomplishments Summary
State and Regional
- Helped coordinate outreach and advocacy efforts to successfully amend New Hampshire’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to include thermal renewable energy from biomass.
- Weighed in and supported the inclusion of thermal renewable energy in the Massachusetts Alternative Portfolio Standard (APS).
Congressional Biomass Caucus
- Led industry development and recruitment for members of the first Congressional Biomass Caucus, and have leveraged the group to hold numerous biomass thermal briefings.
Commercial/Industrial Biomass Heating Systems
- Introduction of S. 3352 – Expanding Industrial Energy and Water Efficiency Incentives Act of 2012 (Sens. Bingaman, Feinstein, Snowe) – Worked with Senate offices to craft a two-tiered Investment Tax Credit of 15 or 30% based on operating efficiencies for commercial and industrial biomass systems.
- Introduction of S. 1294 – Oil Independence for a Stronger America Act of 2011 (Sen. Merkley) –
Would establish a renewable biomass thermal energy loan program for non-federal, commercial and commercial and multi-family residential buildings.
- Introduction of S. 1000 – Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2011 (Sen. Shaheen) - The bill would provide a suite of industrial energy efficiency tax incentives and revise federal energy purchase mandates to include thermal energy from biomass.
Residential Biomass Heating Systems
- Introduction of S. 1914 – Cut Energy Bills at Home Act (Sen. Snowe) – Bill to amend existing Internal Revenue Code Section 25 tax credit to provide a credit ($5,000 maximum) for performance based residential energy improvements, including improvements from biomass heating appliances.
- Introduction of H.R. 4230 – HOMES Act (Rep. McKinley) – The Bill would provide tax credits of up to $8,000 for whole home energy efficiency improvements, including eligible biomass thermal appliances..
Combined Heat and Power/Renewable Energy Credits
- Introduction of S. 2146 – Clean Energy Standard Act of 2012 (Sen. Bingaman) – The bill would create a national clean energy mandate and also authorize a study on mechanisms to incorporate energy pathways that do not generate electric energy, including biomass converted to thermal energy.
- Insertion of amendment to S. 1462 – American Clean Energy Leadership Act – Amendment would establish telescoping renewable energy credits for the useful electric and thermal output of biomass facilities. Credits awarded based on energy efficiency. If passed, this bill would for the first time establish renewable energy credits for thermal energy.
Education and Outreach Accomplishments Summary
- Began research and industry outreach efforts with support from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on the potential off-gassing of Carbon Monoxide from the bulk storage of wood pellets
- Led development of the inaugural Biomass Thermal DC Summit, including coordination of over 50 attendees from several biomass energy groups, scheduling 43 meetings with federal agencies and Members of Congress, support of a Biomass Briefing, and an evening Congressional Biomass Reception.
- Received a $70,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service to conduct workshops to educate HVAC engineers and architects on commercial class biomass heating systems.
- Received a $60,000 grant from the U.S. Forest Service for education and outreach projects on biomass thermal energy, addressing biomass topics like air quality, commercial/industrial/residential applications, rural impacts, policy outlook, environmental commodities, and much more. These publicly available resources will include 15 webinars, 5 factsheets, 10 exclusive audio interviews, and a comprehensive presentation. Click here to read more>>.
- Held and co-hosted numerous Congressional briefing on biomass thermal energy. Read more >>
- Organized first-ever session at RETECH conference on biomass thermal energy; participating in a keynote panel at the 2010 International Biomass Conference and Expo.
- Co-host of the Heating the Northeast with Renewable Biomass Conference, first conference in the northeast focused on biomass thermal energy (www.heatne.com).
- Raised awareness for biomass thermal through regular features and articles in various energy publications, including Hardwood News, Biomass Power & Thermal Magazine (biomassmagazine.com), and Bioenergy International (bioenergyinternational.com).