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Biden climate law could expand controversial biogas industry

U.S. President Joe Biden is applauded by U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) along with other attendees after signing “The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022” into law throughout a ceremony in hawaii DINING AREA of the White House in Washington, U.S. August 16, 2022. REUTERS/Leah Millis

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WASHINGTON, Aug 19 (Reuters) – U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate law may help to expand a burgeoning but controversial industry that seeks to fully capture gases from rotting food and farm waste and convert them into fuel along with other types of energy.

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Biden signed on Tuesday includes new tax credits for companies that build machinery, like anaerobic digesters, to fully capture climate-harming emissions including methane from landfills or animal manure lagoons and convert them into gas, electricity and heat. The biogas industry argues the technology is paramount to meeting the nations climate goals. read more

This bill is just about the most helpful little bit of legislation that people experienced in more than ten years, maybe ever, said Patrick Serfass, executive director of the American Biogas Council (ABC).

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Many environmental groups have opposed the biogas industry, specially the construction of on-farm manure digesters, because they’re often economical limited to large-scale farms. The groups argue new credits for the could incentivize already-big farms to cultivate, increasing emissions along with other environmental harms such as for example runoff into waterways. read more

Were at an instant that basically demands bold action on climate, said Ruthie Lazenby, an employee attorney at environmentally friendly justice clinic at Vermont Law School. Once you really dig in to the details, its much less clear that biogas is truly a win for the climate.

Regulations expands available tax credits for the to add biogas systems that produce heat and gas, previously available and then projects that generated electricity.

In addition, it appropriates nearly $2 billion to the Department of Agricultures Rural Energy for America Program through 2027 and $8.45 billion to its Environmental Quality Incentives Program through 2026. Farmers can access funds through both programs to create pricy manure digesters that capture emissions from animal waste.

Regulations could accelerate growth among a wider spectral range of biogas projects, said Adam Comora, co-CEO of OPAL Fuels (OPAL.O), a fresh York-based biogas company.

It could make smaller, marginal, more challenging projects economical, Comora said.

At the moment you can find 2,300 biogas projects in the usa, based on the ABC.

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Reporting by Leah Douglas in WashingtonAdditional reporting by Nichola Groom in Los AngelesEditing by Timothy Gardner and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

Washington-based award-winning journalist covering agriculture and energy including competition, regulation, federal agencies, corporate consolidation, environment and climate, racial discrimination and labour, previously at the meals and Environment Reporting Network.

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