BCAP Funding, Biogas Rocks and Other Biomass News

This blog is a hodgepodge of items that I have read or heard about biomass this week that I think you should know about.
By Rona Johnson | February 24, 2011

This blog is a hodgepodge of items that I have read or heard about biomass this week that I think you should know about.

To begin with, the continuing resolution, funding the U.S. government through the end of 2011, does not wipe out funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.

Section 1285 of HR 1 says “None of the funds appropriated or made available by this division or any other Act shall be used to pay the salaries and expenses of personnel to carry out the Biomass Crop Assistance Program authorized by section 9011 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 8111) in excess of $112,000,000.”

I believe Rep. Jeff Flake’s, R-Ariz., amendment would have taken out the phrase “in excess of $112,000,000.” That would have left the program with no funding. Many will argue that the funding level is not enough, but that remains to be seen as the program hasn’t really had a chance to get any traction since some major rule changes were enacted.

The budget bill is now awaiting action in the Senate and before it becomes law it must be signed by the president.

Meetings of the Minds

If you live in Virginia and are interested in bioenergy, the Virginia Biomass Energy Group is holding a conference March 7 at the Jepson Alumni Center on the University of Richmond campus. The annual Biomass Energy Conference will focus on the challenges related to biomass sourcing, transportation, handling and storage for large- and small-scale bioenergy projects.

To find out more about the conference, go to

In other conference news, BBI International recently posted the agenda for the 2011 International Biomass Conference & Expo, which will be held May 2-5 in St. Louis. I’m sure once you see the list of panel presentations, you will want to attend. Whether you are interested in energy crops or crop residues, gasification or torrefaction, biomass availability or logistics, project development or technology improvements and enhancements, this agenda have it all covered.

For more information about the conference, go to

According to an article in the Bennington (Vermont) Banner a pro-biomass group has been formed and has met to support a proposed 29.5-megawatt biomass and pellet manufacturing facility in Pownal, Vt. The Citizens for a Prosperous Pownal are attempting to counter opponents of the Beaver Wood Energy LLC project, which is to be built at the Green Mountain Race Track.

The group has their work cut out for them as there are two anti-biomass groups organized in opposition, the Southern Vermont Citizens for Environmental Conservation and Sustainable Energy and the Bennington-Berkshire Citizen’s Coalition.

In these situations, it’s easy for the public to get the wrong idea that everyone is opposed to projects when there is no organized support. The formation of a support group should ensure a more balanced approach.

Invitation to NIMBYs

I also want to add a note about President Obama and his recent fixation on nuclear power. Seriously, he obviously has no idea what it takes to get a biomass-power plant permitted what with all the hoops that have to be jumped through and the opposition. I’m fairly certain that people who are opposed burning biomass would be vehemently opposed to a nuclear power plant being built anywhere near their backyards. Not to mention nuclear waste being trucked by their homes, schools, grocery stores, hospitals and churches.

Biogas Blast

Lastly, I would like to acknowledge that GE’s commercial with the cows as a rock-and-roll band powering their own concert is priceless. Way to make anaerobic digestion cool.

If you haven’t seen the commercial, go to and click on “Electric Cattle.”