Posted on 12 April 2010.
By Debi Brazzale, COLORADO NEWS AGENCY
A pair of measures OK’d by a panel of lawmakers today would add more biomass to the list of fuel sources that qualify under renewable-energy mandates on public utilities. Members of the House Transportation and Energy Committee approved both measures unanimously.
House Bill 1363 addresses biogenic gas, and Senate Bill 177 addresses woody biomass and solid waste biomass.
Biogenic gas is a biologically produced gas extracted from wells and coal beds that are no longer being used. When microbes – bacteria- are introduced into the area, they go to work breaking down the fossil fuels and the resulting gas is captured and used to produce energy.
Biomass is a term used to describe biologically based material that is converted into energy. The biomass in one bill focuses on wood chips–especially those that are derived from the fallout of bark beetle infestation that has swept through Colorado’s forests in recent years—and from solid waste materials from sewage.
Rep. Christine Scanlon, D-Dillon, sponsor of both measures, said that the inclusion of the wood chips is a win-win.
“Promoting woody biomass resulting from the bark beetle infestation will not only aid in forestry management but will contribute to our new energy economy,” said Scanlon.
Rep. Max Tyler D, Lakewood, wanted to clarify that the additions of biogenic gas would fit under the category of renewable energy and wouldn’t be producing a new well site.
“You’re not going in there and doing anything that us folks who like renewable energy might not like–like going in there and ‘drill baby drill’—right? ” asked Tyler.
Scanlon said production of biogenetic gas would be environmentally friendly and amount to recycling of the well.
Rep. Marsha Looper, R-Calhan, questioned why supporters of using solid waste as a fuel source wouldn’t also support new, cleaner coal technologies.
“My concern is that we’re not supporting clean coal technologies…yet we’re embracing the use of solid waste,” said Looper. Looper added, “I’m going to hold my nose and vote for this bill because I support new and emerging technologies for energy.”