EESI Policy Fellow Jessie Stolark gave a presentation at the Midwest Energy Policy Conference, held by the Missouri Energy Initiative on September 30 in St. Louis, Missouri.
In her presentation, entitled "The Value of Biomass in State Renewable Portfolio Standards," Jessie Stolark explained that biomass resources, especially waste resources, have an important role to play in state energy planning. Waste resources, like organics and landfill waste, waste water treatment, manure, food industry waste, wood and agricultural wastes can be utilized as both electricity and liquid fuels while also providing valuable co-products such as fiber, compost and fertilizers. Biomass resources can be a valuable aspect of a state's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), not least of all because they are able to provide baseload power in conjunction with more intermittent renewable resources, and if co-deployed, could allow the United States to significantly back-out of petroleum products. Additionally, these waste streams pose significant environmental problems if not managed in a sustainable manner.
While solar and wind technologies have enjoyed a relative flourishing under the thirty-odd state RPS that exist today, biomass resources are still an under-utilized area of renewable electricity expansion. Utilizing wastes in a sustainable manner has the potential to transform the agriculture, forestry, food processing, and waste treatment sectors, while providing significant benefits to air, water and soil quality. Policy signals are now present for the use of these waste streams, such as the Farm Bill's Energy Title, the President's Biogas Roadmap, the EPA's Clean Power Plan, and the inclusion of biogas in the Renewable Fuel Standard. States are also acting to provide incentives that recognize the value of biomass use, but more can be done to further realize it's full potential.
Download the full presentation here, or view it below.