Modern Wood Heating and Other Thermal Applications Offer a Big Opportunity.
It is used daily by homes, businesses and industrial facilities across the country, most frequently for space heating, water heating, andindustrial 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.
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.
However, nearly all government grants and incentives for renewable energy support the electricity and transportation sectors. Renewable sources of thermal energy have largely been forgotten in public policy.
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.
In 2017, we are:
Advocating for public policies that bring modern wood heating into the “mainstream.”
- Since the beginning of the year, 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 will be reintroduced in late June.
- We have revamped the Community Wood Energy Program, and are working with the Forests in the Farm Bill Coalition to include it in next year’s Farm Bill. Fourteen organizations endorsed our proposal for a 5-year $50 million annual program to cover up to 35% of the installed capital costs for high-efficiency low-emissions projects.
- After falling short in last year’s Energy Bill, we achieved recognition of carbon neutrality of forest-based biomass in this year’s omnibus spending bill.
- We are supporting appropriations for energy efficiency, US Forest Service, and rural development programs that support wood heating.
- We continue to support state level efforts in places like Oregon and Maine that recognize the economic and environmental benefits of wood heating.
Removing technical barriers to market expansion.
- 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.
- 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.
- We are collaborating with industry stakeholders to develop a US ANSI woodchip standard. In June, the standard will be open for public comment and review.
- We are continuing to develop 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.
- We are coordinating a strategic communications effort to collect and disseminate factsheets and testimonials on the successes and benefits of modern wood heating.
- We are helping to create a common language to talk about wood heating. This includes using terms such as “local jobs” and “most efficient use of wood resources.” We are working with the US Forest Service on this effort.
- We are recognizing industry leadership by our members by sharing their accomplishments on our website and in our newsletters.
For more information on modern wood heating, visit BTEC’s Resource Center