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BTEC applauds introduction of Biomass Thermal Utilization Act

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) applauds the introduction of the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (BTU Act) in the House (H.R. 3161) and Senate (S. 1480).

(Left) The Design Plus winning wood stove from Dovre and (right), a personal favourite from Solzaima, a wood stove encased with cork ribbing.

The BTU Act corrects an oversight by extending an existing investment tax credit to include wood heating installations. Spotted at ISH 2017 in Frankfurt, Germany (left) the Design Plus winning wood stove from Dovre and (right), a wood stove encased with cork ribbing from Solzaima.

In a statement, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC), an Amercian association of biomass fuel producers, appliance manufacturers and distributors, supply chain companies and non-profit organisations, applauds the introduction of the Biomass Thermal Utilization Act (BTU Act) in the House (H.R. 3161) and Senate (S. 1480).

The BTU Act is a significant step towards achieving parity in tax treatment between modern wood heating and virtually all other renewable energy technologies. We welcome the bipartisan support this bill has achieved from Senators and members of Congress across the country, said Jeff Serfass, Executive Director of BTEC in a statement.

According to BTEC, the BTU Act corrects an “oversight” dating to the passage of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. It extends an investment tax credit that already exists for other renewable energy technologies to high-efficiency wood heating installations. The Act updates Section 25D of the tax code to make residential wood heating systems with a Higher Heating Value (HHV) of at least 75 percent eligible for the residential renewable energy investment tax credit.

It also updates Section 48 of the tax code to offer a two-tiered tax credit for commercial wood heating installations. Systems with an HHV between 65 and 80 percent are limited to a 15 percent credit, while systems with an HHV greater than 80 percent are eligible for the full 30 percent credit.

The lead sponsors of the House bill are Reps. Mike Kelly (R-PA-3), Peter Welch (D-VT-1), and Ann Kuster (D-NH-2). In the Senate, the lead sponsors are Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Angus King (I-ME), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Sens. King and Collins, and Rep. Welch have sponsored this legislation in the past. Rep. Kelly’s first-time co-sponsorship underscores the potential he sees for wood as a renewable heat source in Pennsylvania.

By making modern wood heating affordable, the BTU Act will help expand the market for this renewable fuel. Using wood for heating instead of fossil fuels keeps energy dollars local and creates local jobs. The BTU Act, therefore, helps foster energy security and independence and encourages economic development, particularly in rural communities, said Serfass

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