New Hampshire has become the first state in the country to integrate the full range of renewable thermal energy technologies into its renewable portfolio standard, making biomass thermal, solar thermal and geothermal projects eligible for credits on par with other renewable electricity projects. And, in Washington, DC, a bipartisan group of senators has introduced a bill that would provide tax credits for the installation of commercial and industrial biomass heating or cooling systems.

From New Hampshire, on June 26, Jennifer Runyan at Renewable Energy World reported:

  • Yesterday Governor John Lynch of New Hampshire signed a new bill into law that adds thermal renewable energy to the state's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) currently set at 23.8 percent by 2025. . . The new bill requires that utilities source a portion of that 23.8 percent of renewable energy from thermal sources including wood pellet boilers, solar water heating panels and geothermal heating and cooling systems. It sets specific annual targets for thermal renewable energy and ramps up slowly. New Hampshire is the first state to fully incorporate renewable thermal energy into its RPS program, and grant incentives to biomass, solar and geothermal project developers that are equivalent in value to those for developers of renewable electricity projects. . . Examples of projects that will qualify are wood or wood pellet boilers that heat commercial or institutional buildings , solar hot water arrays on hospital rooftops, or geothermal heating and cooling systems for nursing homes or correctional facilities. The NH provision will be available to residential, commercial and industrial applicants. . .

Read more here .

In the U.S. Senate on June 28, Senators Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Olympia Snowe (R-ME), and Diane Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Expanding Industrial Energy and Water Efficiency Incentives Act of 2012 , which would, among other things, help businesses across the country meet their heating and cooling needs with renewable biomass. The bill would establish a two-tiered tax credit of 15 percent for commercial and industrial biomass systems that achieve 65 percent efficiency or better and 30 percent for systems that achieve 80 percent efficiency or better. The bill would also expand incentives for combined heat and power systems. Read a bill summary here .

According to the Biomass Thermal Energy Council :

  • The credit would have no maximum and would be available for biomass thermal systems placed in service on or before January 1, 2016. "This bipartisan bill will provide highly efficient biomass thermal equipment the same incentive that exists for every other renewable energy technology, including solar thermal and electric, wind, and geothermal," said Joseph Seymour, Executive Director . . . " The bill's aggressive two-tiered structure will promote the most advanced and cleanest biomass thermal technologies, and will help the commercial and industrial sectors—two of the nation's biggest consumers of thermal energy—switch to renewable biomass fuels that we produce here in America."