The carbon neutrality of biomass as defined by the federal government has been a main point of emphasis for the biomass industry over the past decade, particularly as the debate over carbon emissions has ramped up in intensity.
At the beginning of November, leaders from three federal agencies – the Department of Energy, EPA, and USDA – sent a letter to Congress confirming their commitment to H.R. 1615, a bill passed by Congress that, in part, specified a more consistent federal policy on biomass. The bill also called for support of the biomass industry and reaffirmed the need for biomass to be included into the nation’s energy supply.
In the letter, agency leadership affirmed their support of biomass as a carbon neutral energy source. Their continued support is key to the industry if it is to be a part of the nation’s renewable energy portfolio. Federal support could result in more financial backing for the industry that will help biomass power to grow.
Biomass and the Trump Administration’s Stance
The call for biomass has become something of a pet project for the Trump administration’s energy strategy. Biomass enjoys bipartisan support and can be a boon to communities involved in forestry. According to Andrew Wheeler, the administrator of the EPA, said the emphasis on biomass “will support good-paying jobs in rural communities, protect our nation’s air quality and remove unnecessary regulatory burdens.”
Organizations such as the American Forest and Paper Association have applauded the strategy, saying it ends “seven years of policy uncertainty” and will provide good news for timber companies, paper companies, and plants that produce wood pellets for energy.
The industry as a whole has also applauded the EPA’s suggestion to give credit to coal plants for cutting emissions if they incorporate biomass into their production mix. Such a move would not only benefit the biomass industry; it would also provide a way for coal plant owners to generate a different line of revenue from a fuel source that would, in theory, be supported by the federal government moving forward.
It remains to be seen if some of the EPA’s suggestions are followed by Congress, and if tangible benefits can be put into place by federal agencies to make good on the letter their leaders sent to Congress.
ProcessBarron engineers, constructs, and installs air, ash, and material handling equipment for biomass plants. Contact the team for more information.