March 30, 2010

Bipartisan Biomass Heating Bill Introduced

Crapo co-sponsors measure aiding forest products industry

Washington, D.C. - Idaho Senator Mike Crapo has joined three of his Senate colleagues to introduce the American Renewable Biomass Heating Act, bipartisan legislation that could aid Idaho's forest products industry while promoting renewable heating fuels. The legislation puts the use of woody renewable biomass on par with other renewable energy sources by offering substantial tax credits for the use of biomass from forests and private lands. It provides an investment tax credit (ITC) of 30 percent of the cost of installing high-efficiency biomass systems for heating in commercial and industrial buildings.

"Idaho's forest products industry is already making wise use of products like woody biomass, but this legislation promises to expand the market for those products even further," Crapo said. "About one-third of all energy consumption is to generate heat for our buildings and structures. We need to prioritize the use of renewable wood fuels for this use and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, which this measure does."

Crapo joined Senators Jean Shaheen (D-New Hampshire), Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) in introducing the wood heating bill. "We have seen increased efforts to put wood products, like biomass and wood pellets, to work heating our homes and schools. Now, we need to expand the use of these wood products for larger, industrial uses, and create more jobs in the process," Crapo said. The tax credits in the legislation would be available for biomass heating systems placed in service on or before December 31, 2013.