Forest Biomass Policy
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Forest Biomass Policy 


The Department of Natural Resources’ forest biomass initiative is occurring against a backdrop of existing state and federal policy direction.  These policies act as guides to the emerging industry and signal opportunities for future expansion. The following is a list of policy that guides existing biomass-to-energy efforts in Washington.

DNR’s Forest Biomass Initiative
SHB 1422 Forest Biomass-Aviation Fuel
The Department of Natural Resources was authorized by the 2011 legislature to move ahead with a forest biomass to aviation fuel demonstration project. The effort is intended to provide a platform for DNR, Commerce, UW, and WSU to collaborate on moving this new phase of bioenergy development forward sustainably.

SSHB 2481 Forest Biomass on State Lands
The Department of Natural Resources was authorized by the 2010 legislature to sell biomass from state lands through existing timber sale contracting mechanisms, through long-term contract agreements, and through long-term leases of public lands for the purposes of citing energy facilities.

HB 2165 An Act authorizing the DNR to conduct forest biomass energy demonstration projects

The Department of Natural Resources was authorized by the 2009 legislature to move forward on two biomass-to-energy pilot projects. This legislation was the first step in the agency's Biomass Initiative. Four pilot projects were chosen one year after the legislation passed and progress is currently being made on those projects.

Renewable Energy Standards: Federal and State
Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
The Federal Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 almost exclusively situates biomass in a role of feedstock for alternative fuel. Title II Subtitle A Section 202 calls for a significant increase in renewable bio-fuel over the next ten years. Washington’s biomass resources can play a role in ensuring these national targets are achieved.

I-937 An Act relating to new energy sources
Initiative 937 requires the state’s largest electric utilities obtain 15% of their energy from renewable resources by 2020 with incremental steps of 3% by 2012 and 9% by 2016. The law also requires those utilities to identify and acquire all cost-effective energy efficiency in their service territory.

Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS): Federal and State
United States Renewable Fuel Standard
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was tasked under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 to revise and implement regulations to ensure that transportation fuel sold in the US contains a minimum volume of renewable fuel. The EPA program will increase the required volumes of renewable fuel to 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Washington State Renewable Fuel Standard for Public Sector Vehicles
This statute requires that by July 1, 2009, all state agencies as a whole are required to use a minimum of 20% biodiesel to operate diesel-powered vehicles. Washington State Ferries are required to use a minimum of 5% biodiesel by this date.

By June 1, 2013, all state agencies must satisfy 40% of their total fuel usage for public vehicles with electricity or biofuel. By June 1, 2015, 100% of these fuel needs are to be met by electricity or biofuel.

The statute requires that at least 30% of all new vehicles purchased by state contract must be clean-fuel vehicles. This percentage will increase 5% each year.

Renewable Fuel Standard for Fuel Licensees in Washington State
This rule requires that by November 30, 2008, at least 2% of all diesel sales in the state are biodiesel. This percentage will increase to 5% when the Washington State Department of Agriculture determines that instate oilseed production capacity can satisfy 3% of the total diesel consumed in the state.

Other Resources
Bioenergy Washington
This website provides a comprehensive overview of current bioenergy related activities in the State. Information is available on incentives for bioenergy production, permitting, and climate change. 

Washington State Department of Commerce
The Department of Commerce offers several grant programs that can benefit forest biomass-to-energy projects. Additionally, there is information on Washington’s State Energy Plan development.

USDA Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP)
Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) provides financial assistance to producers or entities that deliver eligible biomass material to designated biomass conversion facilities for use as heat, power, biobased products or biofuels. Initial assistance will be for the Collection, Harvest, Storage and Transportation (CHST) costs associated with the delivery of eligible materials.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Biomass Research and Development Program
The Biomass Research and Development Act established the importance of greater cooperation between Federal agencies in biomass research and development. The Act created The Biomass Research and Development Initiative, which is a solicitation for biomass research issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Energy. The Act also established the Biomass R&D Board (Board) and Biomass R&D Technical Advisory Committee (Committee) to help guide the multi-agency effort to coordinate and accelerate all Federal biobased products and bioenergy research and development.


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Michal Rechner
Aquatic Resources Assistant Division Manager

Dan Siemann
Executive Policy Advisor for Climate Adaptation & Energy


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