Biomass has been in the news over the past six months as the Trump administration moves deeper into its second year and the EPA – along with state agencies and legislatures – attempts to come to a consensus about regulations and policy for the industry.
Here is a summary of news and updates for the biomass industry over the past month.
Senate Passes 2018 Farm Bill
The U.S. Senate recently passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill, a major piece of legislation that comes around once every five years. This is good news for biomass producers because the bill contains mandatory funding for Energy Title programs that include biomass production.
A few programs in the Energy Title section include:
- Biomass Research and Development Initiative
- Biobased Markets Program
- Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Product Manufacturing Assistance PRogram
- Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels
- Rural Energy for America Program
- Biomass Crop Assistance Program
There was some worry by the biomass industry that some of these programs would be on the chopping block in the Senate, but those fears appear to be unfounded.
The bill isn’t past all legislative hurdles, though; it will head to conference with a version passed by the House of Representatives which notably did not include mandatory Energy Title program funding.
Given how much support is in the Senate for these programs, however, it seems likely that some, if not all of the Energy Title programs will make it into the final bill for the president’s signature.
2019 Will See More Biomass Generation and Capacity
In what is welcome news to the biomass industry, electricity generation and capacity provided by biomass are set to increase in 2019, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The EIA projects that wood biomass will generate 120,000 MWh per day in 2019, a 0.83 percent increase from 2018.
Capacity is set to increase from 7,363 MW to 7,526 MW by the end of 2019, which is a gain of 2.1 percent.
The bulk of the increases in biomass are coming from wood biomass, as opposed to waste biomass, which will have lower growth through 2019.
One major benefit from this increase in biomass production is the fact that biomass is, at the very least, carbon-neutral. By firing biomass, utilities can meet regulations while still providing steady service to their customers.
Plus, the increase in biomass production will have an economic benefit as it could mean more jobs for communities with a strong biomass presence.
Southern Field maintains biomass plants and equipment with an expert team of professionals. Contact our team for more information about protecting your plant’s bottom line and keeping your equipment running properly.