– by Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Mario Parker, June 7, 2018, Bloomberg News
A day after a tentative agreement to overhaul U.S. biofuel policy appeared to collapse amid farm-state concerns, EPA chief Scott Pruitt met to discuss the issue with the lead senator pushing for the changes: Ted Cruz.
Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, declined to comment on the June 6 meeting, but Cruz said it included discussion about the Renewable Fuel Standard and had been planned well before reports June 4 that a White House-brokered accord was unraveling. Cruz stressed that a deal to overhaul the biofuel policy could be revived.
“The conversations are ongoing,” Cruz said. “And I continue to believe that there is a positive win-win solution for everyone.”
– by Mark Lisheron, May 7, 2018, Texas Monitor
For almost six years, Austin Energy customers have been paying about $54 million a year for a power plant in East Texas not to produce biomass energy.
Those customers also paid $128 million to build the plant.
Nearly two years ago, the city of Austin hired a staff of attorneys to see if Austin Energy could get out from under a 20-year contract that even supporters of the wood-burning power plant came to see as a terrible deal for utility customers.
– by Steve Mistler, April 5, 2018, Maine Public Radio
Photo: Maine Public Radio
The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday to approve a $1.2 million taxpayer subsidy to an embattled biomass company operating two plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro.
The vote by the three-member commission largely followed the recommendation of PUC staff, which found last month that Stored Solar LLC met only one of its three contract obligations, while falling well short of the other two.
It maintained the agreed upon number of jobs, but purchased less than 40 percent of the waste wood it promised, and it spent $1 million less on capital expenditures than it was supposed to.
– by Avory Brookins, June 1, 2018, Rhode Island Public Radio
Photo: Oregon Department of Forestry
A Rhode Island bill that could have cleared the way for biomass power plants won’t move forward this legislative session.
Biomass is wood waste that is burned to generate electricity. It’s also considered a renewable resource.
The bill would have included biomass in the state’s “net-metering” program, which gives credits to customers for extra power generated by renewables, such as solar and wind, that flows back into the electrical grid. Those credits can lower ratepayers’ utility bills.