More good news unfolded for the biogas industry in Washington, D.C. last week as the House of Representatives’ answered the Senate’s Agriculture Environmental Stewardship Act with a new companion bill (H.R.2853) to help streamline passage.
Just like the Senate bill (S.988), the House bill would extend much-needed Investment Tax Credits (ITC’s) to biogas businesses and technologies through 2021. Of note: verbiage in the House bill is essentially the same as in the Senate bill.
Anaerobic digester builders, operators, and manure resource recovery initiatives could all apply. If passed, the bills together would provide a 30% tax credit for those biogas endeavors that qualify, aiding them with their upfront capital costs, which are often millions of dollars.
Patrick Serfass, Executive Director of the American Biogas Council (ABC), also expressed his praise. “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,” he said in the ABC’s official press release.
Hand in hand, both bills will together create better incentives for innovators and farmers in pursuit of successful biogas installations. Without these incentives, progress in biogas could very well flounder.
President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation Jim Mulhern added: “By creating incentives to make biogas and manure resource recovery technologies more affordable, the Agricultural Environmental Stewardship Act will encourage more widespread use of manure digesters.
“This benefits society by decreasing nutrient runoff in waterways, decreasing farm odors, and improving water quality.”
Regenis would like to applaud House Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) and Tom Reed (R-NY) for sponsoring the bill, as well as our home state members of Congress, Representatives Susan DelBene (D-WA), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA) for co-sponsoring its introduction. “These bills signify a largely bi-partisan effort and hopeful movement towards cleaner air, cleaner water, and cleaner energy throughout the country from the agricultural world,” said company Vice President, Bryan VanLoo.
How does biogas create clean air, clean water, and clean energy? The ultimate goal of the biogas industry: to create clean, renewable energy from harmful greenhouse gas waste emissions produced by dairy agriculture in the country.
Methane—largely emitted by agricultural cattle and dairy livestock—makes up a hefty helping of greenhouse gases contributing to global climate change today. It is also 84 times more potent in its atmosphere-warming impacts than carbon dioxide (CO₂) according to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF).
Anaerobic dairy digester biogas technology traps methane, transports it to a facility, and processes it into natural gas renewable energy and fertilizer. Further, these systems assist with the processing of dairy manure—also responsible for methane emissions—into more bioavailable forms for use as agricultural fertilizer.
Nutrients are also more successfully separated from raw manure material in this process, ensuring that a glut of nutrients avoids groundwater or waterways. Buildup of nutrients from overfertilization has been shown to be harmful to local ecosystems, including humans and wildlife alike.