In 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency said it was putting off a decision on potential greenhouse-gas restrictions on biomass for three years. The delay was considered a big victory for biomass proponents and a loss for environmental groups.
Since then, biomass projects have continued to be built. The largest biomass plant in North America, using wood pellets, just opened in Ontario, Canada.
"A new era has dawned in Ontario; one where the air will be cleaner and the multiple costs of coal-fired generation have become a distant memory,” said Canada’s Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli.
Biomass Magazine says demand for wood pellets is strong in European countries looking to move away from fossil fuel energy, and a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency says 20 percent of all global electricity could come from biomass - whether it be wood or other materials - by 2030.
Meanwhile, an $85 million biomass plant in Port Angeles, Wash., is set to become fully operational later this year. The Japan-owned Nippon Paper Industries cogeneration plant was dedicated last fall with 20 megawatts of capacity but never hit full production because of technical problems inside the boiler. Those problems have now been fixed.