Mission & Vision
The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) advances the sustainable use of wood and agricultural biomass for clean, efficient heat and combined heat and power to meet America’s energy needs and strengthen local economies.
By 2025, the use of sustainable wood and agricultural biomass for thermal (heating and cooling) and combined heat and power (CHP) is a mainstream energy choice. Residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial customers choose it as an affordable, clean, efficient, and carbon beneficial alternative to fossil fuels. Distributed energy from biomass thermal/CHP provides reliability and resiliency to America’s energy infrastructure and efficient use of biomass resources. Policies at the local, state, regional, and federal levels support thermal/CHP from biomass equally with respect to other renewable sources of energy. Thermal/CHP from biomass enables sustainable land and resource management, and provides improved soil and forest health, improved water and air quality, and reduced wildfire risks. Thermal/CHP from biomass drives local job growth and economic vitality across America’s rural and urban communities.
Modern Wood Heating and Other Thermal Applications Offer a Big Opportunity.
1. Thermal energy represents roughly one-third of total U.S. energy consumption
It is used daily by homes, businesses and industrial facilities across the country, most frequently for space heating, water heating, and industrial processes. Using wood for heating, cooling and combined heat and power (CHP) in the U.S. would reduce greenhouse gas emissions, decrease our dependence on foreign fossil fuels, and create jobs in rural communities.
2. Thermal energy is highly efficient, yet largely forgotten in public policy
Energy efficiency measures the ratio of useful output compared to fuel input, acting like an energy return on investment. Modern and commercially viable wood heating, cooling, and cogeneration technologies can reach efficiency levels of up to 80-90%. Biomass thermal technologies can generate more usable energy per unit of fuel than better known—and better funded—renewable biomass pathways.
Incentives are necessary to make modern wood heating and cooling more competitive in the marketplace with non-renewable sources of thermal energy. Policy tools such as thermal renewable energy credits, production and investment tax credits, community grant programs, and biomass supply programs can grow the market and overcome initial adoption costs. In time, with increasing market penetration, these incentives can be scaled down or eliminated.Federal support must be directed towards projects with the greatest commercial viability and technical merit, no matter their industry. Tax and incentive programs that level the playing field by recognizing the most efficient technologies will guide the U.S. towards energy independence more quickly, cleanly, and affordably. Instead of being the forgotten renewable, biomass thermal must be a key element in America’s energy future.
BTEC works on behalf of you and your company to advance this renewable, low-carbon energy technology.
Advocating for public policies that bring modern wood heating into the “mainstream.”
1. We have generated bipartisan support for the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (BTU Act), an investment tax credit for high-efficiency residential and commercial-sized wood boilers that achieves tax parity with other renewables. The BTU Act was reintroduced in February 2019.
2. We revamped the Community Wood Energy and Wood Innovations Program, and worked with the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition to push for inclusion in the 2018 Farm Bill. Fourteen organizations endorsed our proposal for a 5-year $25 million annual program to cover up to 35% of the installed capital costs for high-efficiency low-emissions projects.
3. We achieved recognition of carbon neutrality of forest-based biomass in the 2017 omnibus spending bill.
4. We are supporting appropriations for energy efficiency, US Forest Service, and rural development programs that support wood heating.
5. We continue to support state level efforts across the country that recognizes the economic and environmental benefits of wood heating.
Removing technical barriers to market expansion.
1. By the end of this year, we will complete lab validation for the first US efficiency test method for commercial-sized boilers. The next step will be to turn it into a standard through a US standards organization.
2. We continue to engage with the high-performance buildings community to integrate high-efficiency wood heating into green building standards. Our partners include the US Forest Service and US Department of Energy. This year, we came closer to including wood heating in the ASHRAE standard for high-performance buildings.
3. We are collaborating with industry stakeholders to develop a US ANSI Woodchip Standard. The standard has been adopted by ANSI and can be purchased from ASABE.
4. We developed the Wood Energy Financial Calculator, an online prefeasibility tool for project and facility managers to assess the cost and energy savings of switching from a fossil fuel fired heating system to a wood-fired heating system.
Developing a positive, fact-based narrative of modern wood heating.
1. We are coordinating a strategic communications effort to collect and disseminate fact sheets and testimonials on the successes and benefits of modern wood heating.
2. We are working with the US Forest Service to help create a common language to talk about wood heating. This includes using terms such as “local jobs” and “most efficient use of wood resources.”
3. We are recognizing industry leadership by our members by sharing their accomplishments on our website and in our newsletters.