Activists say biomass should lose tax credit

Source: Nick Juliano, E&E reporter • Posted: Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Center for Biological Diversity and other green groups are calling on Congress to eliminate the production tax credit for biomass.

The credit is in place through the end of next year, unlike the similar PTC for wind that will expire at the end of this month unless Congress renews it.

CBD and other mostly local environmental groups from around the country wrote to congressional leaders yesterday urging an end to the biomass credit, citing concerns about near-term increases in greenhouse gas emissions and conventional pollutants emitted in biomass energy production.

“A large-scale shift to biomass generation could cause carbon pollution to increase at precisely the time scientists are telling us we need to make rapid and steep emissions reductions,” the groups wrote. “Moreover, unlike other renewable generation technologies, biomass combustion produces air pollutants (including particulate matter and nitrogen oxides) that have well-known and adverse effects on public health.”

Meanwhile, the biomass industry has joined with other baseload renewable energy sectors to lobby on behalf of a PTC extension and modification endorsed earlier this year by the Senate Finance Committee (E&E Daily, Dec. 12).