BTEC applauds Senate passage of Energy Policy Modernization Act

By Biomass Thermal Energy Council | April 25, 2016

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council expressed its support for the recent Senate passage of S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act. Two key BTEC-supported provisions were included in this legislation that put clean, highly efficient energy from biomass on a better footing to contribute to our country's renewable energy and carbon reduction needs. 
One is a provision shepherded by Senators Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., and Tom Carper, D-Del., that opens up the federal renewable energy purchase requirement-put in place by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to allow federal departments and agencies to count thermal energy towards their renewable energy utilization goals. Currently electricity is the only energy pathway that counts. 
"BTEC is grateful for the leadership and hard work of Senators Inhofe and Carper to include this language in the Senate's energy bill," said Jeff Serfass, executive director of BTEC. "This provision is one piece of our overall effort to achieve parity for thermal energy in the context of federal policy recognition of all renewable energy sources and delivery methods." 
The other critical piece in the bill is a provision carried by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and cosponsored by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; Angus King, I-Maine; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Steve Daines (R-MT), Al Franken, D-Minn.; Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, and James Risch, R-Idaho. The provision directs U.S. EPA and other federal agencies to recognize the carbon neutrality of sustainably sourced forest based biomass fuels and energy in any federal air and energy regulatory actions. 
"The biomass thermal energy sector-and indeed the entire biomass value chain-is looking for clarity from EPA on how the carbon profile of biomass combustion will be treated under federal clean air and energy regulatory actions," said Serfass. "Recognizing the carbon beneficial attributes of forest biomass fuels and energy is essential for weaning communities in this country away from carbon intensive heating fuels. The potential greenhouse gas reduction associated with displacing heating oil with clean, highly efficient biomass thermal systems is enormous. We applaud the Senate for including this language and look forward to its speedy enactment."