What is Biomass?
Biomass is renewable, organic material that can be used as a fuel or energy source. Some examples include all types of plant materials (forest thinnings, agricultural crops and residue, wood and wood waste), animal waste, landfill methane gas, sewage and solid waste.
Renewable energy in Connecticut
Connecticut statutes define "renewable sources of energy" as energy from direct solar radiation, wind, water, geothermal sources, wood and other forms of biomass.
Connecticut has a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that requires electricity providers obtain a minimum percentage of their retail load from renewable energy. The RPS outlines the three classes of renewable energy. For 2007, the RPS is 7.5% increasing to 14% by 2010, 19.5% by 2015 and 27% by 2020.
What is "sustainable biomass "?
The term sustainable biomass has been defined in the Connecticut General Statutes Section16-1(a)(45) as biomass that is cultivated and harvested in a sustainable manner. Sustainable biomass can most likely be certified as a Class I renewable energy source and generally does not mean construction and demolition waste, as defined in CGS section 22a-208x, finished biomass products from sawmills, paper mills or stud mills, organic refuse fuel derived separately from municipal solid waste, or biomass from old growth timber stands. However, there are some exceptions. Please see the full definition.
Connecticut Agencies involved in biomass
In Connecticut, agencies that in some way manage or oversee energy issues typically have some involvement in biomass.
- Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)
The DEEP reviews and issues permits necessary for constructing and operating biomass facilities, and has a role in planning and policy regarding the management of the state’s forests, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and energy.
- Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) (formerly the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund) CEFIA promotes, develops and invests in clean energy sources for the benefit of Connecticut ratepayers. In April 2005, an assessment of biomass fuel supply in Connecticut was prepared by Antares. Connecticut has invested in biomass projects, including those that were part of the Project 150 initiative. Project 150 is aimed at increasing clean energy supply in Connecticut by at least 150 megawatts (MWs) of installed capacity. This initiative creates an opportunity for developers, manufacturers and financiers to advance Connecticut-based "Class I" clean renewable energy projects. Through legislation, Project 150 mandates local electric distribution companies to enter into long-term power purchase agreements for no less than 150 MW with generators of "Class I" renewable energy.
- The Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) regulates utility companies in Connecticut and oversees the Renewable Portfolio Standards.
- The Institute for Sustainable Energy at Eastern Connecticut State University has information on energy alternatives and sustainability for Connecticut’s users and providers of energy.
Biomass energy facilities in Connecticut
The following list is subject to change. For up-to-date information on biomass facilities and proposed facilities, contact the CEFIA Fund and/or PURA.
- EPA’s State Bioenergy Primer: Information and Resources for States on Issues, Opportunities, and Options for Advancing Bioenergy has basic information and resources for all biomass fuel and technology covering biopower, bioheat, biofuels and bioproducts.
- USDA Forest Service Woody Biomass Utilization
- US Department of Energy State Assessments for Biomass Resources, Connecticut Potential Biofuel Production
- The Biomass Energy Resource Center (BERC) is an independent, national nonprofit organization located in Vermont. BERC assists communities, colleges and universities, state and local governments, businesses, utilities, schools, and others in making the most of their local biomass energy resources.
- The Connecticut Siting Council has jurisdiction over the siting of power facilities and transmission lines, hazardous waste facilities, and various other forms of infrastructure including telecommunications sites.
- DEEP information on wood stoves , outdoor wood burning furnaces, energy , climate change and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Note: RGGI sources do not need allowances to cover biomass-related emissions. See Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies, Section 22a-174-3, Control of Carbon Dioxides Emissions, subdivision 31(i)(8).
- Biomass basics by the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL)
- Biomass information for kids
- Biomass.net provides extensive information on types and benefits of biomass
Wood Biomass for Heat and Power: Addressing Public Health Impacts, UMass Lowell, Center for Sustainable Production
Content Last updated May 2012