What Has Happened?
Since the first energy crisis in 1973, interest in alternative energy has steadily increased. Dependence on energy sources from potentially hostile nations and growing demand to reduce Green House Gas emissions have driven political interest and accelerated research in biomass, wind, solar, and geothermal sources.
Of the four sources, biomass has the largest share today, as well as the most potential. While a wood-to-fuel industry is not yet a reality, wood combustion in the forest products industry has a long history and is an advanced technology.
Why is This Important?
As a practical matter, all of the alternatives combined could not replace fossil fuels. However, combined with conservation, they can mitigate our dependency on oil and coal. As markets develop, landowners may have the opportunity to participate and to replace some markets that have diminished or have disappeared.
FLA believes that healthy markets lead to healthy forests. Therefore, we support the most inclusive biomass definition in federal and state legislation.
Statutory and regulatory definitions of woody biomass should include:
- All wood crops in all forms
- Residues and wastes
- By-products of manufacturing
Legislation and regulation should be balanced and fair.
We believe that for the biomass market to reach its potential, technology must evolve to the point at which biomass energy is a self-sufficient, subsidy-free enterprise.
What We’ve Done
FLA authored the inclusive biomass definition, “other plants and trees”, that was included in the 2008 Farm Bill and 2009 Waxman-Markey climate bill.
CLICK HERE to see FLA CEO Scott Jones’ Congressional biomass testimony here.
There are no viable, full-scale wood to transportation fuel facilities operating at scale. Co-firing of wood fiber at some coal burning generating facilities is a reality, albeit in relatively small volumes. A number of wood pellet production plants are in full production with much of the product exported to Europe to meet requirements developed in the Kyoto Protocol.
FLA will continue to encourage the use of our broad definition in all legislation that attempts to define biomass.
Progress was halted at several biomass projects in the in 2010 and 2011 due mainly to regulatory uncertainty.