Biomass: Alabama’s Renewable Energy Source
The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) – Energy Division sponsors the Biomass Energy Program to assist businesses in installing biomass systems. This program is open to any industry participant in Alabama who is utilizing a biomass fuel source as a replacement for traditional fossil fuels, including waste wood, switchgrass, and landfill gas.
ADECA encourages industrial, commercial and institutional facilities, agricultural property owners, and city, county, and state entities to take advantage of the opportunity to reduce their operating costs by utilizing biomass resources. Program participants can receive up to $75,000 in interest subsidy payments to help defray the interest expense on loans to install approved biomass projects. Technical assistance and feasibility studies may also be provided through the program.
ADECA-Energy Division is committed to providing leadership and assistance to the citizens and organizations of the state of Alabama through the management and development of energy programs promoting energy efficiency and renwable energy.
Impact of Alabama’s BioMass Energy Program
ADECA’s Biomass Energy Program has been in existence since 1984. The University of Alabama in Huntsville has been in charge of the daily operations of the program since its inception. In 2009, UAHuntsville completed research on the success of the Biomass Energy program in its current form.
The research report, Alabama’s Biomass Energy Program, highlights that for every one dollar from ADECA, the timber industry saves $59.50. With companies’ participation in the Biomass program, the use of fossil fuels in Alabama has been reduced by 21.0 billion MMBTU. During the program period, the wood industry has realized a savings of approximately $94.7 million. Additionally, a reduction in the amount of solid wood waste disposed in landfills totals 312,000 tons per year.
How Biomass Can Save You Money
Energy conservation through the use of biomass as an alternative energy source has been the focus of the Biomass Energy Program for more than a decade. Wood industry participants have been able to reduce production costs by using waste such as wood chips, sawdust and bark in new or converted wood-fired combustion systems.
Biomass energy production also helps to reduce the volume of waste in the waste stream and fosters cleaner combustion and lower emissions, while saving Alabama businesses over $10 million annually in avoided energy costs and the cost of waste disposal. All of these help to make biomass energy an attractive alternative.
The Biomass Energy Program has assisted over 35 projects using wood waste as the primary fuel for generating process heat, process steam, and/or electric power. Over $1.5 million has been invested by ADECA to support the installation of new equipment or to convert existing equipment to burn wood waste.