Massachusetts bills aim to eliminate wood biomass from RPS, APS

By Erin Voegele | September 16, 2021

Two bills pending in the Massachusetts legislature aim to prevent woody biomass energy from participating in the state’s renewable energy portfolio standard (RPS) and alternative energy portfolio standard (APS).

The identical bills, titled “An Act to Prevent Biomass Energy to Protect the Air We Breathe,” or H.3333 and S.2197, were both introduced on March 29 and referred to the Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. The committee addressed the bills during a virtual committee held Sept. 13.

During that hearing, Massachusetts Sen. Eric Lesser clarified that the bills do not impose an “outright ban on biomass” in the state. Rather, they prevent woody biomass energy from being subsidized through the state’s RPS and APS programs.

The legislation is not the only recent action taken in Massachusetts to limit to the use of biomass energy. Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources opened a public comment period on proposed revisions to the state’s RPS pertaining to biomass that would implement an efficiency requirement and prevent biomass projects in certain areas from qualifying for the RPS program. 

A video recording of the Sept. 13 hearing is available on the Massachusetts legislature website