– by Erin Voegele, June 29, 2018, Biomass Magazine
On June 28, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill with a strong bipartisan 86-11 vote. The legislation, titled “The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018,” includes mandatory funding for Energy Title programs. The Agricultural Energy Coalition has spoken out to applaud the senate for its action.
The Energy Title includes a variety of programs that benefit the bioenergy and biofuels industries, including the Biomass Research and Development Initiative; the Biobased Markets Program; the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels; the Rural Energy for America Program; and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
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[SUMMER 2018] On Neutral Ground
FEATURE ARTICLE: “Did Trump’s Quest for ‘Energy Dominance’ Factor into EPA’s Carbon Neutral Biomass Decision?” by Josh Schlossberg
OPINION (PRO): “Biomass Energy is Carbon Neutral” by Tim Echols, Vice Chair, Georgia Public Service Commission
OPINION (CON): “Biomass Energy is NOT Carbon Neutral” by Scot Quaranda, Communications Director, Dogwood Alliance
– 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 Rukhushan Mir, May 10, 2018, Urdu Point
Photo: Urdu Point
Electricity generation from solar resources in the United States reached 77 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2017, surpassing annual generation from biomass resources for the first time, the U.S.
Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. According to the EIA, among renewable sources, only hydro and wind generated more electricity in 2017, at 300 million MWh and 254 million MWh, respectively.
Biomass generating capacity has remained relatively unchanged recently, while solar generating capacity has consistently risen. Annual growth in solar generation often lags annual capacity additions because generating capacity tends to be added late in the year.
– 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.