Publicity drive to promote biomass renewable energy

by Antonio Pasolini on August 24, 2009

The Biomass Power Association (BPA), the leading association of biomass power companies in the United States, announced the launch of a $250,000 public relations, advocacy, and advertising campaign to demonstrate the vital role that biomass power can play in reducing greenhouse gases and creating new jobs across America, especially in rural communities. The campaign, which will focus on Washington, DC, will highlight the economic and environmental benefits of biomass power, as well as the importance of extending tax incentives essential to maintaining existing biomass power facilities and creating jobs.

“The goal of this campaign is to inform people of the long-term environmental and economic benefits of biomass power,” said Bob Cleaves, President and CEO of the Biomass Power Association. “We will emphasize that biomass power actually reduces greenhouse gases and presents the greatest opportunity to meet a strong standard for renewable electricity and create thousands of clean energy jobs.”

The campaign will include a series of biomass power education and promotional activities that will include an event with biomass industry and energy experts in Washington, DC to highlight the environmental and economic benefits of biomass power, facility tours, ad pieces in Washington, DC, and website overhaul.

The initiative is motivated by the fact that biomass power currently receives only half the production tax credit as other renewable technologies, yet these credits are set to expire at the end of this year. Because clean and renewable energy is more expensive to produce than fossil fuels, these federal production tax credits are critical to the renewable energy industry.

The Biomass Power Association is urging Congress to level the playing field in the renewable industry by providing tax equity, or parity, in the production tax credit. Besides, the Association wants Congress to extend these tax credits to existing biomass power facilities for an additional five years.

The Department of Energy estimates that biomass-powered plants currently provide almost 2% of the nation’s energy. The DOE projects that the potential for biomass could grow to 15% by 2020 – a goal that must be realized to reach federal and state renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.

“Many southeastern states lack sustainable access to wind or solar power,” said Cleaves. “This campaign will demonstrate how biomass power can produce enough renewable electricity to meet a strong federal mandate in all fifty states and create thousands of green jobs in the process. Biomass is the unknown renewable energy source that will lead the way to a clean energy future.”

Biomass power is a $1 billion industry with 80 facilities in 20 states and provides over 18,000 jobs nationwide. Power plants are predominately located in rural communities.

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