How Biomass Works, Even During a Pandemic

Despite the global coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. biomass power fleet continues to operate.
By Carrie Annand | September 02, 2020

Despite the global coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. biomass power fleet continues to operate, and we continue our business in Washington, D.C., and Maine.

In June, the Biomass Power Association and California Biomass Energy Association released a video, “How Biomass Works,” which also illustrates its carbon benefits. We teamed up on this video to provide a tool to all of our members and everyone in the larger biomass community who needs a quick, engaging and easy-to-understand way to explain biomass. Working with a geographically diverse team, we scripted the video to address some common misconceptions while making it relevant to many audiences, whether that be someone trying to educate a local lawmaker, dispel myths in the media, or explain biomass to a school group, for few examples. We invite all in the biomass community to use this video whenever needed.

All the while, we have and continue to aggressively pursue inclusion in the Renewable Fuel Standard. In May, we became aware of a letter sent by a top U.S. EPA political appointee responding to a letter by the National Association of State Foresters. The letter made clear that the EPA still has no intention of acting on electric RINs or on expanding the definition of forest feedstocks accepted under the program—not just for electricity, but for all types of fuels. In light of this letter, we have redoubled our efforts to make Congress aware of EPA’s negligence in making the RFS accessible to non-corn fuel providers, and to get EPA to act.

There are two bills currently working their way through Congress that could prompt the EPA to finally act. One is a bill sponsored by Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire, that would require the EPA to process all outstanding fuel applications and completed pathways. The other is an appropriations bill supported by 127 signers of an April letter to House and Senate Appropriations Committees. We thank all of the biomass, biogas and waste-to-energy companies as well as municipal governments and membership organizations from 36 states that signed the letter, and we are hopeful we will see the bill end up as law by the end of this year.

Finally, as we target all three branches of government to pressure the EPA to enact the electricity portion of the RFS program, we are pleased that our litigation has been rescheduled. The oral arguments of our court case challenging the 2019 RVO for its lack of electricity volumes were postponed from May 1 due to COVID-19 but are back on the schedule for the D.C. Circuit court of appeals for September 25.

As always, if you’d like to learn more about why biomass power should be part of the RFS, please visit www.rfspower.com or reach out to me directly.


Contract: Carrie Annand
Executive Director, Biomass Power Association
 carrie@usabiomass.org
www.usabiomass.org