Biogas Production Incentives Act of 2007 Calls for Manure-to-Energy

The Biogas Production Incentives Act of 2007, a Senate bill introduced last week by Senators Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Larry Craig of Idaho, will encourage renewable energy production from animal and agricultural waste by giving the biogas industry access to incentives that have been available to other renewable energy industries for years.

The bill calls for production tax credits, loans and grants to facilitate capital investment, and a floor price for biogas producers to protect them from volatility in the energy market. The bill would encourage greater production of biogas from animal and other organic waste, increasing the production of a readily available, renewable domestic source of energy. “The technology to break down animal wastes to create biogas already exists but it needs encouragement from the federal government to become a commercially viable alternative to natural gas,” said Senator Nelson. “This new energy source would benefit rural communities and the environment while lessening our dependence on fossil fuels. We shouldn’t waste the waste; we should promote biogas development.” “Creating a product out of waste is a groundbreaking opportunity to assist our livestock farmers,” said Senator Craig. “You create a new market, help control waste, keep our environment clean, and create a new revenue stream for farmers.” Biogas production from animal waste offers significant environmental benefits because anaerobic digestion systems prevent methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from entering the atmosphere, and as such will generate carbon offset credits that could be traded under a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade system. In addition, the process improves water quality through better manure management.

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