U.S. Senator Angus S. King introduced legislation that would recognize and promote the economic and environmental benefits of biomass thermal energy. TheBiomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013, or BTU Act, would amend the federal tax code to incentivize biomass energy, as it already does for several other forms of renewable energy. Currently, a host of renewable energy technologies qualify for investment tax credits for capital costs incurred in residential and commercial installations. This legislation seeks to achieve parity between those renewable systems and thermal biomass systems.
“At a time when steep energy prices drain the pockets of families across America, thermal biomass systems, like wood pellet furnaces, offer a responsible and efficient way to generate clean energy, save money, and invest in our local economies,” said Senator King. “When people purchase wood pellets, they’re not only buying a home grown and home harvested product, but they’re also directly contributing to the creation of jobs and the economic health of our state. My legislation supports that effort by placing thermal biomass systems on a level playing field with other renewable energy technologies so that Mainers and Americans can better access a more affordable, sustainable, and environmentally-friendly source of energy.”
“From ensuring that federal housing and energy programs recognize wood pellet technology to helping ensure that biomass systems are included among the incentives for renewable energy, I strongly support efforts to promote biomass, which directly benefits Maine’s economy,” said Senator Collins.
“We welcome Senator King’s leadership in this ongoing battle to get Maine’s home-grown renewable fuel accorded the same tax incentives as virtually all other forms of renewable energy,” said William Bell, Executive Director of the Maine Pellet Fuels Association. “This is not just about heating homes. More than anything, it’s about jobs; the jobs that can be created by spending our fuel dollars here. We commend Senator King for making this one of his first legislative initiatives.”
“Senator King’s bill would provide highly efficient biomass thermal equipment like pellet furnaces the same incentive that exists for nearly every other renewable energy technology, including solar thermal and electric, wind, and geothermal,” said Joseph Seymour, Executive Director of the national non-profit Biomass Thermal Energy Council. “Thermal energy is typically the forgotten pathway in our national energy discussion, so the Senator should be commended for recognizing biomass thermal technologies as a base-load, local, and affordable option within our tax code.”
“We applaud Senator King for his leadership in introducing this critical piece of legislation,” said Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director of the Pellet Fuels Institute. “Our current energy policy largely overlooks thermal energy produced from biomass. Simply stated – the BTU Act bill is good for job creation and the environment, and is a huge step forward in putting biomass thermal energy on a level playing field with competing renewable energy technologies.”
According to industry advocates, thermal biomass systems reduce heating bills by an average of 40% percent. With respect to wood pellet boilers, pellets cost roughly the equivalent of $1.70 to $2.00 per gallon of heating fuel. Additionally, nearly every cent of biomass heating investments is returned to the local economy whereas 80 percent of every heating oil dollar is sent out of the state. In New York State and New England, it has been estimated that for every 100,000 tons of pellets manufactured, 342 direct jobs are manufactured.
In Maine alone, several organizations and 36 schools operate on thermal biomass systems.
For more information on pellet or multi fuel furnaces, contact St. Croix Stoves.