Government Mandates

During February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“AARA”) was signed into law, providing significant new Federal funding, loan guarantees, and tax credits to stimulate investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

During 2009, President Barack Obama endorsed an energy bill which, if passed, would federally mandate utilities to increase their use of renewable energies. A renewable energy standard would be created in the New Energy for America Plan, requiring 10 percent of the country’s electricity to be derived from renewable sources by 2012 and 25 percent by 2025.

Many states within the US have already established their own benchmark requirements to diversify their energy sources and offset carbon emissions. As of April 2010, 36 U.S. states representing more than 50% of the country’s electricity sales established Renewable Portfolio Standards (“RPS”) requiring utilities to adhere to a specific percentage renewable energy sources by a specified date. For example:

The U.S. Department of Energy is issuing over $200 million in requests from industry for small biomass projects, and another $80 Billion for larger federal institutional procurement.

Governments across this continent and around the world are enacting legislation to increase the consumption of electricity that is generated from today’s renewable energy resources, such as:

  1. wind (wind turbines),
  2. flowing water (hydro-electricity),
  3. tidal & water current (ocean-flow), and
  4. thermal consumption of biomass, which includes forestry and agricultural wastes, residues and refuse-derived fuel (RDF).

The European Union and other countries now legally mandate the use of biomass sources of energy for domestic and industrial use. For example, in some regions of Austria, up to 80% of new homes already use biomass for heating, and the UK building code for sustainable housing mandates 100% of new homes by 2012 to use renewable technologies. Wood pellet / briquette biomass is the most accepted and most feasible source of this energy and demand for wood briquettes in Europe is forecast to increase exponentially by 2020.

Each of the member states of the EU has a country-specific target for the level of consumption of electricity from renewable sources that it should attain by 2010. The United Kingdom Renewables Obligation of April 2002 included a target of 10% of electricity generation to come from renewable sources by 2010 and 15% by 2015, which will continue until 2027. Electricity suppliers that are unable to otherwise meet their renewables obligation have to pay a buy-out price (currently £0.033 per kilowatt hour) or purchase Renewables Obligation Certificates from companies that generate electricity from renewable resources.

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