Biomass gains support in Oregon and Capitol Hill


This has been a good week for biomass.  First, Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski voiced his support for biomass in a speech at University of Oregon. And then a bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced the American Renewable Biomass Heating Act, which would create a 30 percent tax credit for industrial-scale biomass heaters.

According to BusinessGreen, here is what Charlie Niebling, chair of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, had to say about the legislation:

“It supports biomass thermal with the same incentive that already exists for every other renewable energy technology, including solar thermal and electric, wind, and geothermal,” he said. “Businesses are some of our nation’s biggest consumers of thermal energy, and (the bill) will provide a powerful incentive to switch to biomass fuels that we produce here in America.”

Biomass is also providing some economic hope to Pacific Northwest timber communities where sawmills have shut down, according to the Daily Journal of Commerce (DJC) in Portland.

Times have been especially difficult in Clackamas County, just outside Portland, according to the DJC story.

Dustin Kohls, program manager for Clackamas County’s agricultural investment plan, said that biomass plants could replace many of the lost jobs.

“Our towns are struggling,” Kohls said. “Most of the focus of jobs creation has been on urban areas, but these towns deserve as much attention as the rest of the county. We’re trying to create a new business opportunity to work off of a traditional natural resource base that was once the strength of these towns.”

With the support of the Oregon governor and an influential group of U.S. senators, here’s hoping that biomass continues to see a bright future and provides a stimulus to the communities that need it the most.