A bill to give biomass the same treatment as other renewables under the tax code

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see link: http://www.biomassthermal.org/news/May22.asp

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May 22, 2013
Biomass Thermal Energy Council Applauds Senator King for Recognizing Renewable Heating
Senator King introduces legislation to provide tax parity for high-efficiency biomass heating systems in residential, commercial, and industrial applications

WASHINGTON – May 22, 2013 – Today, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) voiced its strong support of Senator Angus King (I-ME) for his introduction of a bill to help homeowners and businesses across the nation meet their heating needs with renewable biomass. The bill is the first piece of legislation for the junior Senator from Maine, and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) has joined as an original co-sponsor.
The “Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013” (BTU Act) would recognize biomass thermal technologies within the renewable energy provisions of the tax code. One provision of the BTU Act would include high-efficiency biomass heating technology in Section 25D of the Internal Revenue Code, the residential renewable energy 30% investment tax credit. The second provision is a tiered tax credit for 15% or 30% of the installed cost of biomass-fueled heating (or cooling) systems for commercial or industrial applications in section 48 of the tax code.
“Senator King’s bill would provide highly efficient biomass thermal equipment the same incentive that exists for nearly every other renewable energy technology, including solar heating and PV, 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 we commend the Senator for recognizing biomass thermal technologies as a base-load, local, and affordable option within our tax code.”
To qualify for the 30% residential credit, biomass equipment must operate at a thermal efficiency rate of at least 75% and be used for space or water heating. Alternatively, the commercial and industrial credit criteria contain two tiers. To qualify for the first tier (a 15% credit), biomass boiler and furnace property would be required to operate at efficiency levels between 65% and 80%. The second tier (30% credit) would be available for those operating at 80% efficiency and above. Higher heating value (HHV) would be the basis for the residential and commercial and industrial efficiency measures. Additionally, both credits would have no maximum and be available for systems placed in service on or before December 31, 2016.

The BTU Act’s combination of residential and commercial investment credits would reduce the upfront capital costs of advanced biomass thermal systems. In regions of the country where businesses and homeowners rely on expensive and imported heating fuels such as heating oil and propane, biomass thermal technologies present an immediate lower cost of operation and demand for locally produced fuels.
Recent analyses of the Midwest and Northeast have found that achieving 15% and 25% of the regions’ heating needs from renewables like biomass by the year 2025, respectively, would reinvest a combined $6.7 billion into local economies, reduce the use of heating oil and propane by 2.4 billion gallons, and create an estimated 350,000 jobs.
“Today, businesses and home owners are effectively penalized if they choose to invest in high efficiency, renewable biomass heating technologies,” continued Seymour. “This bill would remove that barrier.”
More information on the BTU Act and the biomass thermal industry may be found at www.biomassthermal.org.
Additional details on the regional biomass market analyses may be found at www.heatingthemidwest.org and www.nebioheat.org.
About the Biomass Thermal Energy Council
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) is an association of biomass fuel producers, appliance manufacturers and distributors, supply chain companies and non-profit organizations that view biomass thermal energy as a renewable, responsible, clean and energy-efficient pathway to meeting America's energy needs. BTEC engages in research, education, and public advocacy for the fast growing biomass thermal energy industry. For more information, visit www.biomassthermal.org.

A bill to give biomass the same treatment as other renewables under the tax code
Other great news from D.C. this week.

Its been a very eventful week with some notable progress in several areas:
1. Senators Angus King introduced a bill to include wood and pellet stoves and boilers into Section 48C of tax code, meaning they would get the federal 30% tax credit, just like solar and geothermal. AGH was very active in ensuring that the 75% minimum efficiency threshold was designated as HHV. http://www.biomassthermal.org/news/May22.asp
2. Congressman Welch and McKinely reintroduced the HOMES Act that provides rebates for stoves and boilers that are proven to reduce a homes energy consumption and meet relatively strict emission and efficiency thresholds. For stoves its 75% HHV efficiency as tested by 3rd party labs, 3.0 grams or less gram per hour and can meet 70% of homes heating needs. All this is done under BPI supervision. AGH was active in developing the language for biomass appliances last year and this year's bill made no changes in the biomass provisions. http://mckinley.house.gov/press-rel...introduce-bipartisan-energy-efficiency-bills/
3. The Maryland Energy Administration raised the rebate levels for wood and pellet stoves from $400 for wood and $600 for pellets to $500 and $700. Wood stoves have to be under 3 grams an hour and pellet stoves under 2 grams. As of now there are no efficiency minimums but Maryland is interested in using a green label for stoves for eligibility when/if that happens.
4. Washington state convened the initial green label advisory board meeting to start to talk about how to develop a green label and what the criteria would be.
5. The Chimney Safety Institute of America and the District of Columbia Urban Forestry Administration are both becoming partners and funders of the Wood Stove Design Challenge.
6. Alliance for Green Heat has undertaken a project to get the country's 15 most used heating fuel calculators to adopt more accurate default efficiencies for wood and pellet stoves and boilers. Many had been listing the average pellet stove to be 80% HHV or higher. Some are also willing to provide realistic efficiencies for both qualified and unqualified outdoor wood boilers. We succeeded in getting the most popular one of all, the EIA calculator to change (www.eia.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls) to the EPA default numbers and most of the other large institutions have also agreed to change. Industry sites have so far declined to change, or to includes estimates for catalytic appliances and maintain unrealistically high estimates.
7. Mass. announced launch of coalition to push for thermal to be part of the state's RPS. (AGH has not been involved in this but is involved in similar process in Maryland.) http://www.conbio.info/news/new-mas...rmal-energy-in-state-renewable-energy-policy/
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