PFI’s Government Affairs Committee works to serve its members’ businesses by advocating the pellet industry’s interests to all levels of government and protecting the industry from restrictive public policy and regulation. The Government Affairs Committee’s dedicated member involvement has been a key component in the success of PFI. PFI members have voluntarily dedicated countless hours to the GA Committee and their hard work is paying off for the industry.
For a primer on state legislative incentives and assistance programs for wood pellets that could potentially be replicated in other states, please see PFI – Examples of State Legislative Incentives.
Biomass Heating Appliance Tax Credit–Updated
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, signed into law by President Obama in early January 2013, extended the tax credit on biomass burning appliances, including pellet stoves. The credit provides a tax credit of $300 on an appliance that is 75% efficient. The credit applies to appliances purchased between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2013.
The new tax credit as outlined provides:
· Tax credit of $300 for the purchase of biomass heating appliance in 2012 and 2013
· Removal of the lower heating value level (LHV) efficiency measurement
Many retailers have expressed the importance of the tax credit as a an incentive for customers to purchase clean, efficient pellet stoves.
Senator Angus King Introduces Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013
On Wednesday, May 22, Senator Angus King (I-ME) introduced S. 1007, the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act of 2013. The BTU Act, co-sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), has been referred to the Committee on Finance. The legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to include biomass heating appliances for tax credits available for energy-efficient building property and energy property. PFI has been working with Senator King’s office over the last several months to help craft the bill, which has garnered broad support across varied industries.
In comments during the bill’s introduction on the Senate floor, Senator King said, “I rise today in support of energy innovation, energy independence, national security, and local economies. … [T]he BTU Act–would give tax parity to biomass heating systems under sections 25d and 48 of the Internal Revenue Code and would help to encourage a very promising industry.
By adding biomass heating systems to the eligible renewable technologies for residential and commercial tax credits, we can help make clean, home-grown heating more cost effective for hard-working Americans.”
Jennifer Hedrick, Executive Director of the Pellet Fuels Institute, expressed PFI’s support for the bill, saying, “We applaud Senator King for his leadership in introducing this critical piece of legislation. Our current energy policy largely overlooks thermal energy produced from biomass. Simply stated, the BTU Act is good for job creation and the environment, and is a huge step forward in putting biomass thermal energy on a level playing field with competing renewable energy technologies.”
PFI will continue to monitor the progress of this legislation and update members on how they can help in the effort to see the bill passed.
Goal: To Achieve Parity with Other Renewable Energy Sources in Federal Policy and Regulatory Arena.
To achieve this goal, PFI will focus on the following priorities:
1. Secure re-authorization of and mandatory funding for renewable energy titles as part of a long-term Farm Bill extension.
2. Ensure the inclusion of thermal biomass in federal renewable energy mandates and continue the pursuit of opportunities to include pellets in portfolios for heating military facilities.
3. Continue collaboration with other renewable energy organizations with like-minded visions and priorities as well as federal and state government agencies.
4. Continue to expand the reporting mechanisms within the Energy Information Administration.
PFI staff and members will use the following strategies to pursue its goal:
• Simplification and streamlining of application process for REAP and similar programs
• Work to gain support and co-sponsors for legislation that is beneficial to the biomass thermal industry, including a standalone thermal biomass Investment Tax Credit bill
• Securing extension and increase of biomass appliance tax credit for 2014 and beyond
• Monitor comprehensive tax reform effort to determine opportunities for biomass energy to achieve parity with other renewables
• Support research and dissemination of information on the sustainability of wood pellets, along with their emissions levels
• Continue to assist with state initiatives to advance the densified biomass thermal industry, to include state Renewable Portfolio Standards
• Work with the administration to get biomass thermal into their talking points (e.g. mention in Presidential and cabinet-level speeches amongst other renewables)
• Securing a universal definition for biomass
• Seeking promotion of pellets under the federal definition of advanced biofuels