Biogas Renewable Energy Bill Introduced
U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) today introduced legislation that has the potential of replacing billions of gallons of fossil fuels with domestic energy developed from animal waste. The bill would provide tax incentives and guaranteed loans for small businesses to promote biogas â" a substitute for natural gas created by the anaerobic digestion of animal waste and other organic bi-products.
âAmerican dependence on foreign oil has endangered our national security and is an unacceptable long-term risk. The development of significant national biogas production requires an investment by the American people and this legislation makes that investment. We will be far more secure in the long-term if we work to develop and deploy alternative energy sources throughout the United States,â said Rep. Nunes.
Biogas is produced through the anaerobic digestion (AD) of animal wastes and other agricultural or organic wastes and is composed of at least 60 percent methane (the principal ingredient of natural gas). Methane can be burned to generate electricity. Biogas can be used as is on the farm, co-located with another facility such as an ethanol plant, or it can be cleaned up to be used as a renewable substitute for natural gas, propane or other fossil fuels. In the State of California , biogas projects are generating more than 2.3 MW of electricity.
House Resolution 2038, the Biogas Production Incentives Act of 2007, would encourage greater production of biogas for energy purposes by:
*Providing biogas producers with a tax credit of $4.27 for each unit (mmBtu) of biogas they produce;
*Providing loans, loan guarantees, and/or grants to aid the collection and transport of biogas, or to purchase or construct equipment or facilities to collect and transport biogas;
*Creating a counter-cyclical safety net for biogas producers by providing payment from Commodity Credit Corporation funds to qualified biogas producers only when the annual average daily prices of natural gas falls below a certain level.
It has been estimated that national biogas production has the potential to replace approximately 2.5 billion gallons of heating oil per year. Biogas production also offers environmental benefits such as a reduction in the greenhouse gas emissions of both carbon dioxide and methane and improved water quality through better manure management.
Companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Ben Nelson (D-NE).