BCAP matching payments reach $224 million

By Anna Austin | May 31, 2010
The USDA has released reports revealing what types of eligible materials have been contracted through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program as of May 18, as well as the number of contracts for each material and the total collection, harvest, storage and transportation (CHST) matching payment value.

CHST funds allow matching payments to eligible biomass material owners in the amount of $1 per $1 paid per ton by a qualified biomass conversion facility-a facility that will use the material to produce power, heat, biobased products, advanced biofuels or any combination-to the producer, up to $45 per dry ton for a time limit of two years after the first payment is made. On Feb. 8, the USDA stopped accepting CHST applications and issuing payments until the final BCAP rule is in place, which is speculated to come out this fall.

On a national level, the USDA estimates that 5,423 contracts have been granted to date, totaling more than $224 million in matching payments. Bark contracted from nonfederal woody resources led the matching payment categories with 1,426 contracts valued at about $42.2 million in payments, followed by fuel wood (755 contracts at $31.4 million) nonfederal hardwood chips (818 contracts at $31.4 million), and forest harvest slash (389 contracts at $27.9 million).

Agriculture resources such as corncobs, grain, nut hulls and sugarcane bagasse have been granted 37 contracts totaling about $246,000. Energy grasses and legumes totaled 99 contracts at $200,000 in matching payments, and waste materials such as nonedible fats and oils, nonedible plant processing waste and scraps, orchard wood waste, pellets, roadway maintenance cuttings, sawdust and shavings have been granted 711 contracts totaling about $34.8 million in CHST payments.

On a statewide basis, Alabama has the most contracts at 585, which are worth $22.7 million in CHST payments; Maine's payment value is the highest at $33.7 million from 423 contracts. Nineteen states were not listed as having any contracts, though data for states with less than four facilities or less than four contracts were not reported for confidentiality reasons.

Though not definitive, the USDA has estimated BCAP spending to total about $2.6 billion, including $2.1 billion for matching payments over the next four years.