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BBI International | March 31, 2009
Obama administration calls for aggressive biomass spending LAKEWOOD, Colorado — The American economy is in the grip of a crisis unparalleled since the Great Depression. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 presented to Congress, President Obama has included $58 billion to be devoted to energy investments in the coming years — of that, at least $800 million would be directed specifically at biomass-driven energy projects.
The bill in its current form would encourage the production of power derived from closed- and open-loop biomass, landfill gas and waste-to-energy facilities. It would extend the federal production tax credit (PTC) and let producers claim an investment tax credit (ITC) rather than the PTC for certain projects. It would also grant producers the option of receiving federal grants rather than the ITC in some cases.
The bill also provides $850 million in federal support for removal of hazardous fuels and related efforts to prevent wildfires on public lands. A further provision designed to boost weatherization efforts calls for grants promoting the use of upgraded renewable energy generation systems using biomass such as wood pellets.
"This is not just a short-term program to boost employment," said President Obama speaking of the bill. "It's one that will invest in our most important priorities like energy and education; health care and a new infrastructure that are necessary to keep us strong and competitive in the 21st century."
In an effort to create jobs and boost the economy, long-term investment in renewable energy programs will both create high-wage jobs and a sustainable energy economy. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than 10 percent of our energy comes from renewable sources. In the first ten months of 2008, biomass utilization increased by 8 percent over the same period in 2007.
"This investment couldn't come at a better time," says BBI International CEO Mike Bryan. "Renewable energy industry leaders will find this administration's forward-looking policies and support particularly encouraging." In April, BBI will host The International BIOMASS Conference & Expo, the only conference in the world designed to serve multiple segments of the global biomass industry.
As the world of biomass expands, the conference has broadened to six unique tracks that encompass the vast majority of biomass feedstocks:
Registration is open Register at http://www.biomassconference.com. The general conference registration fee includes admission to the general session and all workshops, entry to the Expo, all meal functions, and speaker presentations. Other rates and levels of access are available.