The American Biogas Council, the trade association for the U.S. biogas industry, praises the recent introduction of the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act (H.R. 2853), House companion legislation to Senate bill 988. The bill has received bipartisan support.
This bill, along with the Senate companion bill, (S. 988) introduced in early May, will increase agricultural viability by helping to deploy new nutrient recovery and biogas systems that recycles organic material into baseload renewable energy and healthy soil products. The Act provides a 30 percent investment tax credit (ITC) for qualifying biogas and nutrient recovery systems.
“For a healthy economy, we need healthy soils and clean waterways. Biogas and nutrient recovery systems help us achieve cleaner, healthier soil and water and the Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act will increase the deployment of these systems,” said Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council. “We thank Congressmen Reed, Kind and the other co-sponsors of this bill for recognizing the far reaching benefits of sustainable farming where organic material and nutrients should be recycled to create beneficial soil products, baseload renewable energy and jobs.”
The introduction of H.R. 2853, and the significant bipartisan support it has already received, reflects the critical need to support economically and environmentally sustainable agricultural practices that protect waterways and enrich soils. At the present time, there are no current tax incentives to encourage biogas or nutrient recovery systems. This new credit would promote the production of pipeline quality natural gas and compressed renewable natural gas (RNG) vehicle fuel as well as nutrients which are essential to agricultural production.
According to H.R. 2853’s Summary, this bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to allow energy tax credits through 2021 for investments in qualified biogas property and for other purposes. The bill also permits new clean renewable energy bonds to be used for such properties.
“Qualified biogas property” comprises a system that uses anaerobic digesters or other specified processes to convert biomass into a gas which is at least 52% methane, and captures the gas for use as a fuel. The term includes property that cleans and conditions the gas for use as a fuel.
The Department of the Treasury must enter into an agreement with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for a study of biogas and report to Congress on the study.
U.S. Biogas Market
Currently, the United States has more than 2,200 sites producing biogas, and still, the potential for growth of the U.S. biogas industry is huge. A recent industry assessment conducted with the USDA, EPA and DOE as part of the Federal Biogas Opportunities Roadmap estimates nearly 14,000 sites are ripe for development. If fully realized, these new biogas systems could produce enough energy to power 3.5 million American homes and reduce emissions equivalent to removing up to 15.4 million passenger vehicles from the road. It would also result in an estimated $40 billion in construction spending, creating approximately 335,000 short-term construction jobs and 23,000 permanent jobs to operate the biogas systems and manage ongoing business activities.
About the American Biogas Council
The American Biogas Council represents over 200 companies covering the entire biogas supply chain who are dedicated to maximizing the production and use of biogas from organic waste.
(Sources: American Biogas Council and U.S. Congress)