New law extends tax incentives for biopower into 2011

PORTLAND, MAINE - USA Biomass, the nation’s leading association of biopower companies, applauds the recent passage of federal legislation which extends through 2011 important tax credits for the biopower industry — which “recycles” wood chips, forest waste, orchard prunings, sugar cane and other renewable, organic materials into electricity.

“By extending these tax credits, the President and Congress are making a significant and prudent investment in the renewable energy industry — today and for years to come,” said USA Biomass President Robert Cleaves.

“While this new law will benefit all renewable energy, it’s most important to biopower — because we depend on these tax credits to provide renewable, greenhouse gas-friendly electricity throughout the country,” said Cleaves. “This is just the first step in larger and larger investments in biopower — which has the ability to provide over 20% of our nation’s power.

“According to recent studies, the greenhouse gas reductions from operating biopower plants are significant,” said Cleaves. “For every megawatt hour of biomass power, approximately 1.6 tons of CO2 are avoided — resulting in a projected reduction of almost 30 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually. Our nation’s leaders should be doing everything possible to increase our use of clean biopower — for consumers and our environment.”

According to Department of Energy (DOE) estimates, biomass-powered plants currently provide about 2% of the nation’s energy. DOE projects that the potential for biomass could grow to 15% by 2020 — a goal that must be realized to meet federal and state renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

USA Biomass is the only national organization devoted solely to the growth and long-term viability of biomass-powered electric generation — a growing industry that is strengthening America’s rural economy, promoting energy independence and reducing carbon emissions. It has 41 member companies operating 80 power plants in 20 different states. These power plants use a broad range of biomass fuels — from wood chips in Maine, bagasse in Florida and rice hulls in Louisiana, to forest waste in Arizona and orchard prunings in California.


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