Senate bill provides tax incentives for biogas investments

By Erin Voegele | September 25, 2019

Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Pat Roberts, R-Kan., reintroduced the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act on Sept. 24. The bill aims to expand the biogas market by providing a 30 percent investment tax credit to help offset the upfront costs associated with building biodigester systems.

“Ohio farmers are struggling to safely dispose of livestock waste that could be used for renewable energy,” Brown said. “This legislation will encourage investment in the technology needed to convert these waste materials into natural gas that can be used to power households and businesses across the country.”  

“This legislation promotes a commonsense way to turn waste into energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create jobs and grow the economy,” Roberts said. “The Warrior Biogas project near Dodge City, Kansas is a shining example of what could happen across Kansas and America if we incentivize further development of these innovative technologies.”

The bill, S. 2542, was introduced Sept. 24 and referred to the Senate Committee on Finance. A companion bill, H.R. 3744, was introduced by Reps. Ron Kind, D-Wisc., and Tom Reed, R-N.Y., in July.

The Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act is supported by the American Biogas Council, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the Ohio Farm Bureau.

“The Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act boosts the sustainability of rural economies by encouraging smart technologies that recycle organic material, like manure, into renewable energy and returning nutrients to the soils that need them. When biogas systems recycle manure and nutrients, we have cleaner waterways, healthier soil and new commodities to sell which replace fossil fuels,” said Patrick Serfass, executive director of the ABC. “We salute Senators Brown and Roberts for their continued leadership in sustainable agriculture.”

According to the ABC, the introduction of the bill reflects a critical need to support agricultural practices that are both economically and environmentally sustainable. “No tax incentive exists to incentivize biogas or nutrient recovery systems,” the group said in a statement, noting the Section 45 production tax credit that encouraged the production of renewable electricity is currently expired. “This new ITC would promote the production of biogas when used as renewable natural gas in vehicles and renewable heat, while also supporting nutrient recycling vital to agricultural productivity and reducing emissions from the fossil fuels used to produce synthetic fertilizers.”

Additional information on the bill is available on the Congress.gov website. https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/2542/all-actions?s=1&r=1