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BILL AS INTRODUCED 2007-2008

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H.759

Introduced by Representatives Potter of Clarendon, Helm of Castleton, Bray of New Haven, Copeland-Hanzas of Bradford, Leriche of Hardwick, Marcotte of Coventry, Botzow of Pownal, Clarkson of Woodstock, Evans of Essex, Haas of Rochester, Jewett of Ripton, Malcolm of Pawlet, McCullough of Williston, Mook of Bennington, Peltz of Woodbury, Perry of Richford, Randall of Troy, Sharpe of Bristol and Stevens of Shoreham

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Conservation; energy; biomass

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to enact programs encouraging energy production from sustainable harvested biomass.  The bill would establish a tax credit for the cost of installing new biomass combined heat and power equipment purchased within the year.  The bill would also establish the biomass energy development program for the promotion and preservation of a sustainable and efficient use of local woody biomass for energy production.

AN ACT RELATING TO ENCOURAGING BIOMASS ENERGY PRODUCTION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:


* * * Biomass Energy Production * * *

Sec. 1.  32 V.S.A. § 5930z is added to read:

§ 5930z.  BIOMASS COMBINED HEAT AND POWER INSTALLATION

                INCOME TAX CREDIT

(a)  A taxpayer of this state shall be eligible for a credit against the income tax imposed under this title in the amount of six percent of the sale price, including installation charges, of new biomass combined heat and power equipment purchased and installed by the taxpayer during the taxable year.  Unused credits may be carried forward for a total of five immediately succeeding taxable years.

(b)  As used in this section:

(1)  “Biomass” means any organic material not derived from fossil fuels.

(2)  “Combined heat and power” means equipment that sequentially produces both electric power and thermal energy from a single source or fuel.

Sec. 2.  BIOMASS ENERGY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM

(a)  The biomass energy development program is established in the department of forests, parks and recreation to provide grants for the promotion and preservation of a sustainable and efficient use of local woody biomass for energy production.  The following research and development shall be eligible for assistance under the grant program:

(1)  biomass harvesting research and development, including harvesting methods, silvicultural guidelines, and wood procurement standards;

(2)   research and development of guidelines related to the sustainable harvesting of woody biomass for energy production;

(3)  research and development of wood energy systems that identify and promote sustainable use of woody biomass; and

(4)  educational and instructional activities to inform the forestry industry, the forest products industry, and retail electricity providers of the need for and methods to ensure a sustainable, long-term supply of local wood biomass for the production of energy and forest products.

(b)  In addition to any other funds appropriated to the agency of natural resources in fiscal year 2009, there is appropriated from the general fund to the agency $200,000.00 in fiscal year 2009 for the purpose of establishing the biomass energy development grant program under this section.

(c)  As used in this section, "woody biomass" means material from trees and woody plants, including limbs, tops, needles, leaves, and other woody parts, grown in a forest, woodland, farm, rangeland, or wildland-urban environment that is the byproduct of forest management, land clearing, ecosystem restoration, or hazardous fuel reduction treatment.


Sec. 3.  DEPARTMENT OF BUILDINGS AND GENERAL SERVICES

             REPORT ON BIOMASS ENERGY PRODUCTION AT STATE

             FACILITIES

On or before January 15, 2009, the department of buildings and general services shall report to the house and senate committees on agriculture and the house and senate committees on natural resources and energy regarding the use of biomass energy production at state-owned buildings and other facilities.  The report shall include:

(1)  A list of state buildings and facilities at which biomass energy production is currently utilized to provide thermal energy or electricity;

(2)  A list of state buildings and facilities which utilize cogeneration equipment to produce electricity and thermal energy;

(3)  A summary of the existing biomass energy production activities utilized at state buildings and facilities, including an estimate of the volume of biomass purchased annually for these activities, the cost of the biomass purchased annually, and the suppliers of the biomass purchased by the state;

(4)  An estimate of the cost of purchasing biomass energy in contrast to the costs of purchasing an equivalent amount of energy from fossil fuel;

(5)  An estimate of the amount of carbon dioxide emissions produced from biomass energy in contrast to the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emissions from an equivalent amount of fossil fuel energy;

(6)  A summary of any plans by the department of buildings and general services to increase the use of biomass energy production at state buildings and facilities; and

(7)  The obstacles, if any, the department of buildings and general services has identified for expanding the use of biomass energy production to all state buildings and facilities.

Sec. 4.  30 V.S.A. § 8004(f) is amended to read:

(f)  Before December 30, 2007 and biennially thereafter through December 30, 2013, the public service board shall file a report with the senate committees on finance and on natural resources and energy and the house committees on commerce and on natural resources and energy.  The report shall include the following:

(1)  the total cumulative growth in electric energy usage in Vermont from 2005 through the end of the year that precedes the date on which the report is due;

(2)  a report on the market for tradeable renewable energy credits, including the prices at which credits are being sold;

(3)  a report on the SPEED program, and any projects using the program;

(4)  a summary of other contracts held or projects developed by Vermont retail electricity providers that are likely to be eligible under the provisions of subsection 8005(d) of this title;

(5)  an estimate of potential effects on rates, economic development and jobs, if the target established in subsection 8005(d) of this section is met, and if it is not met;

(6)  an assessment of the supply portfolios of Vermont retail electricity providers, and the resources available to meet new supply requirements likely to be triggered by the expiration of major power supply contracts;

(7)  an assessment of the energy efficiency and renewable energy markets and recommendations to the legislature regarding strategies that may be necessary to encourage the use of these resources to help meet upcoming supply requirements;

(8)  any recommendations for statutory change related to this section, including recommendations for rewarding utilities that make substantial investments in SPEED resources; and

(9)  the board's recommendations on how the state might best continue to meet the goals established in section 8001 of this title, including whether the state should meet its growth in energy usage over the succeeding 10 years by a continuation of the SPEED program;

(10)  A summary of existing biomass energy production in Vermont;

(11)  A summary of potential new biomass energy production facilities in the state and a summary of the department of public service’s efforts to encourage new biomass facilities within Vermont;

(12)  A proposal to encourage the establishment and operation of biomass facilities in the state;

(13)  After consultation with the biomass energy staff at the agency of agriculture, food and markets, a proposal to encourage retail electricity providers in the state to provide consumers with a voluntary, premium rate program, similar to the existing Cow Power program, for electricity generated from biomass;

(14)  After consultation with the department of forests, parks and recreation, recommended standards for the procurement of woody biomass by retail electricity providers in order to ensure that energy produced from woody biomass is produced at a harvest rate at or below its natural regeneration rate; does not impair long-term harvest site productivity; and does not compromise environmental conditions of the harvest site;

(15)  Recommended standards for the design of new renewable energy from woody biomass that are designed to promote sustainable, efficient, local, and fair use of woody biomass supplies.



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us