Large inventories of waste timber and other waste material can be found in many areas of the United States. When significant volumes of combustible waste material exist near current or potentially large harvests of fast-growing “bioenergy crops,” fuel stock supply – the most fundamental ingredient for commercial biomass energy – suggests the economic feasibility of a bioenergy power project.
Yet the metrics of biomass energy only begin with adequate supplies of feedstock. Local, state and national incentives that support energy generated from biomass sources are crucial. Many municipalities as well as county, state and regional governments no longer permit landfills to “open-burn” waste material, demanding other disposal solutions. Those same governing bodies often have regulations preventing landfill disposal of biomass material where it could threaten surface or ground water resources. Costs of transporting biomass feedstock to a generating facility as well as environmental and safety regulations governing their movement are key variables. An older, nearby and relatively inefficient coal-fired power plant that can be updated to accept biomass material is often the crucial component in the complex maze that characterizes a commercial biomass power investment. Some of the benefits biomass energy creates include:
- According to the Biomass Power Association (“BPA”), biomass power uses waste material such as scrap lumber, forest debris, or agricultural harvest waste to generate clean electricity. If not utilized as renewable fuel, it is often discarded in landfills or contributes to forest fires.
- The biomass power industry prevents over 30 million tons of organic waste a year from being dumped in landfills or left to decay in the open and slowly emit methane gas and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- Biomass power does not threaten forests. It is not economically viable for biomass plants to clear forests or chop down trees solely for the purpose of converting the wood to electricity.
- Waste byproducts from other industries are the only economically viable fuel for biomass power.
- Biomass power is a renewable energy source that reduces greenhouse gases.
- Biomass power is essential to meeting strong renewable electricity standards in all fifty states and will create thousands of new green jobs.
- Biomass power is an expanding $1 billion industry with 80 facilities in 20 states.
- Biomass is a reliable renewable energy source that meets the requirements of state renewable portfolio standards.
- According to the BPA, America’s biomass industry provides 18,000 jobs nationwide, many of which are in rural areas.
- Unlike wind and solar power, biomass can produce electricity 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, which provides a steady and dependable flow of power to any local electricity grid.*
Whatever the variables – and for a biomass energy power project, there are many – it is important for developers to plan projects from the outset with an eye to qualifying for financing. Biomass energy projects attract capital only if they show at least a 15-year inventory of low-cost biomass material, but capital formation requirements are much more complex than proving adequate, sustainable feedstock supply. Like all renewable energy projects, “raising the money” must be a consideration from the beginning. Vert Investment Group is well-versed in renewable energy capital formation and thus a unique resource for biomass energy developers.
If you are considering a biomass or other renewable energy project, we invite you to contact Vert Investment Group to discuss how Vert can assist you with development models that integrate financing alternatives and requirements from the project’s earliest days. Call us at (713) 222-8378 or click on Contact Us in the Main Menu of this site.
* Biomass Power Association