Recapping National Bioenergy Day
Oct. 21 marked the third annual National Bioenergy Day. This year’s participation increased 30 percent over last year, with more than 60 organizations demonstrating their involvement with bioenergy. On what has really become the “North American Bioenergy Day,” top Canadian officials joined with a lung health nongovernmental organization to publicly state support for our industry.
With continued support from the U.S. Forest Service, we produced a video on bioenergy, focusing on its role in the thriving forest products industry in northern Maine, as well as its role in keeping forests healthy.
We are also pleased this year to welcome a new sponsor, the U.S. DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office, and to maintain the sponsorship of our previous supporters: Plum Creek, Pellet Fuels Institute, Biomass Thermal Energy Council, U.S. Industrial Pellet Association and Biomass Magazine. With the addition of the DOE, National Bioenergy Day now counts cellulosic biofuels into the mix of bioenergy types involved in the day.
One of the biggest developments this year was the creation of the Congressional Biomass Caucus, which held a kickoff event on National Bioenergy Day. Reps. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., and Bruce Wsterman, R-Ar., are serving as co-chairs of the Biomass Caucus, whose aim is to raise awareness on all types of bioenergy. The kickoff panel included representatives of biomass power, export and domestic pellets, the U.S. Forest Service and the Environmental and Energy Study Institute. So far, the caucus counts 10 members, and we are looking forward to encouraging many more to join.
All events are noteworthy, and I encourage readers to look at www.bioenergyday.com to see the news generated across the country on National Bioenergy Day. I also want to highlight a few of the events held that day:
• Louisiana State University held a day-long conference on bioenergy. The USFS’s Dan Len gave the keynote address on wood supply in the Southeast. Other speakers explored opportunities and challenges for cofiring, exporting pellets, landowners and attracting more bioenergy companies to Louisiana.
• The state of Kentucky focused on small-scale combined heat and power initiatives.
• Biomass facilities held tours in California, Minnesota, Michigan, New York, Maine, North Carolina and Ontario, Canada.
• District and building pellet heat demonstrations were held across the Northeast.
• Washington State University’s Advanced Hardwood Biofuels Northwest teamed up with the USDA to hold a “webinar-a-thon,” a weeklong series of webinars looking at various aspects of biofuels production.
National Bioenergy Day continues to grow, and we look forward to this opportunity every year to help all in bioenergy engage more closely with their communities to show them what bioenergy is all about. Visit www.bioenergyday.com for more information.
Author: Bob Cleaves
President, Biomass Power Association