May 15, 2018

EPA Announces New Carbon Neutral Policy for Forest Biomass Energy

Carbon Neutral Policy and Forest Biomass

On February 23, 2018, Scott Pruitt announced a new EPA policy which will treat forest biomass burned at power plants as carbon neutral in all future regulations.  According to Pruitt, the policy will provide “much-needed certainty and clarity” on the carbon neutrality of forest biomass – a clarification that the forest and paper industries have long sought.  Biomass involves obtaining energy by burning wood and other organic matter which is classified as renewable energy in the European Union and United Nations because plant stocks can be replaced with new growth.  In the U.S., regulatory uncertainty regarding how the EPA would treat… Read more


Jan 18, 2017

U.S. EPA has determined Clean Air Act permit granted to Georgia Cellulosic Biomass Plant to be Inadequate

Boilers & Clean Biomass

The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) has concluded that the Clean Air Act (“Act”) operating permit for the Piedmont Green Power facility issued by the Georgia EPD in 2015 is inadequate for failure to include sufficient monitoring, record keeping, and reporting requirements to ensure that biomass burned in the plant’s boiler qualifies as clean, cellulosic biomass. Title V operating permits are issued by state and local permitting authorities, which must submit the permits to the EPA for review and approval. The operating permit includes annual hazardous air pollution remnants that the EPA determined are legally and practically unenforceable. Based on this… Read more


Jan 16, 2015

EPA Proposes to Allow Biomass Energy as GHG Control

On November 19, EPA released a policy memo that allows states to rely on energy generated from “waste-derived and certain forest-derived industrial byproduct feedstocks” as tools for compliance with EPA’s proposed existing source performance standards (ESPS) for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The memo announced that EPA will propose a rule exempting waste and “sustainably derived” biomass from best available control technology (BACT) requirements in stationary source permits, and will revise its prevention of significant deterioration (PSD) rules to “include an exemption from the [BACT] requirement for GHGs from waste-derived feedstocks and from non-waste biogenic feedstocks derived from sustainable forest or… Read more


Dec 8, 2014

House Extends Tax Credits for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency

Last Friday, December 5, the U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 5771, the “Tax Increase Prevention Act of 2014”, which includes an extension of several tax credits and other tax benefits utilized in renewable energy projects and for energy efficiency.  Included in the extension are: Production tax credit for energy produced from wind, closed-loop and open-loop biomass, geothermal, landfill gas, trash, qualified hydropower, marine, and hydrokinetic facilities Bonus depreciation New markets tax credit, often combined with specific renewable energy tax credits in qualifying locations Credits for energy-efficient new homes Special allowance for second-generation biofuel plant property Energy-efficient commercial buildings deduction… Read more


Feb 14, 2012

GA State Senate Bill 401 seeks to promote property rights and renewable energy

On February 7, 2012, Georgia State Senator Buddy Carter (R-Pooler, Dist. 1) introduced SB 401, which seeks to clarify the purpose of the Georgia Cogeneration and Distributed Generation Act of 2001 (“CoGen Act”) and remove artificial barriers to renewable energy development in the state. At the request of representatives and business leaders in the renewable energy industry, SGR attorneys Steve O’Day and Jessica Lee Reece prepared the initial draft of the revised Act. The bipartisan bill is also sponsored by Ronnie Chance (R-Tyrone, Dist. 16), Jason Carter (D-Decatur, Dist. 42), Tommie Williams (R-Lyons, Dist. 19), Chip Rogers (R-Woodstock, Dist. 21) and… Read more


Jan 10, 2011

Separate Reporting of Biomass GHG Emissions Required by EPA

U.S. EPA recently published a final rule reversing its prior position on reporting so-called biogenic GHG emissions–emissions created from burning plant-based fuels. Beginning this month, industries that are large emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), or those that are planning to build new facilities or make major modifications to existing ones, must obtain air permits and implement energy efficiency measures or, where available, cost-effective technology to reduce their GHGs emissions. In an earlier proposed rule, EPA did not require separate reporting of GHG emissions from biomass. Yet, on December 17, EPA released its final rule, which requires power plants that burn… Read more