New Rules in Massachusetts Offer Model for Rewarding Good Biomass

Fact Sheet
May 22, 2012

Power companies argue that because trees can grow back, they are a renewable and “carbon neutral” fuel source. This misconception is embedded in many existing renewable energy policies promoting biomass fuels uniformly for electricity production. Massachusetts, for example, realized that its Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) regulations were rewarding power companies for burning whole trees, thus undermining efforts to invest in truly low-carbon energy sources. The Commonwealth chose to end this practice by putting in place smart standards to drive the market towards the best sources of biomass—the first standards in the world to set a performance requirement for biomass. The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) hails Massachusetts’ new proposed biomass rules as a blueprint for how other states and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) can ensure that biomass-fueled energy reduces carbon emissions and protects our nation’s valuable forests.