WASHINGTON, January 25 - Today, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) expressed its support for President Obama's State of the Union commitment to homegrown and clean energy sources. In the address, President Obama discussed the importance of tapping into America's vast energy and technology resources to meet the nation's energy needs and build the economy.
"We welcome President Obama's call for an all-of the-above strategy to develop American energy," said Joseph Seymour, BTEC Executive Director. "Creating local jobs and reducing our nation's dependence on foreign oil have always been part of BTEC's mission. We look forward to working with his administration in meeting these goals through the utilization of one of America's most abundant renewable resources - biomass."
In his remarks, President Obama urged Congress to pass clean energy tax credits. Such credits include a tax credit for the installation of a biomass-fueled stove, which expired on December 31st, 2011 and has yet to be extended. Another incentive is S. 1914, which was introduced by Sen. Olympia Snowe during the first session of the 112th Congress. The bill would create a performance-based home energy improvement credit that would reward heating cost reductions, among other measures. Other programs that have been successful in advancing biomass thermal energy include the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and the Advanced Biofuel Producer Payment Program from the 2008 Farm Bill.
"BTEC will be working closely with members of Congress on legislation that provides incentives for efficient biomass heating appliances and fuels," said Seymour. "Such incentives are essential for supporting local jobs and encouraging the use of a renewable and affordable fuel." On Tuesday prior to the address, BTEC joined approximately 200 other groups in a Pew Environment Group statement urging Congress to "Harness the Heat" in industrial applications, thereby spurring billions in investment and one million jobs. View the Pew Environment Group statement here >>
President Obama also discussed the importance of establishing a Clean Energy Standard (CES) in order to create a market for innovation. During his speech, President Obama announced his administration's development of clean energy on public land along with a commitment by the Department of Defense to purchase large amounts of clean energy. President Obama then called upon Congress to develop a CES, which it has yet to accomplish. Sen. Jeff Bingaman is expected to release a CES later this year.
"We are encouraged by President Obama's dedication to advance clean energy sources, and we must stress the importance of addressing thermal applications in any energy strategy," said Seymour. "With thermal applications accounting for approximately one-third of our nation's energy consumption, incorporating biomass thermal energy into a national CES will increase the use of our renewable resources while creating and maintaining energy jobs in our communities."
BTEC invites those interested in learning more about the association and potential involvement to contact Emanuel Wagner, BTEC Program Coordinator for Outreach and External Affairs, at Emanuel.Wagner@biomassthermal.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.