October 19, 2016 is designated as National Bioenergy Day. This day is a celebration of bioenergy that highlights its environmental and economic benefits on the local, state and national levels. It’s sponsored by the Biomass Power Association, Biomass Magazine, the U.S. Industrial Pellet Association, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, and Pellet Fuels Institute, Drax and Enviva. The mission is to educate more people – media, elected officials, and communities – about the benefits of bioenergy as a critical renewable energy source along with the many solutions it presents, like using materials with very little to no value that would otherwise be discarded.
National Bioenergy Day began in 2013. Over the last four years, the day has grown to not only represent biomass power but also district heating, residential pellet heating, biofuels, gasification, and other bioenergy applications. Participation has expanded to include organizations outside of bioenergy such as universities and state and local governments. The first year had 25 participants holding events across the country. Last year, there were 60 participants. Crucially, the U.S. Forest Service began supporting the event in 2014 and continues to sponsor Bioenergy Day. They provide funding that helps tell the stories of bioenergy, which can vary dramatically from region to region.
Last year, there were events in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Georgia, Louisiana, California, Arizona, Oregon, Washington, Minnesota, Michigan, North Carolina, Iowa, and Mississippi.
So, what exactly is bioenergy? Bioenergy is the use of any organic material, such as forest thinnings, residues, agricultural waste or urban wood waste, to generate heating, cooling or electricity. Many independent power producers generate electricity for the grid using bioenergy. Hospitals, college campuses, school districts and government buildings also use bioenergy for heat and electricity. Thousands of homes and businesses have installed stoves and other appliances powered by wood pellets, reducing their heating costs. Working farms and other businesses with organic waste products recycle their “leftovers” to power or heat their facilities. Bioenergy produces about 2.5% of the nation’s total energy and is responsible for sustaining tens of thousands of jobs, many of them in rural communities where they are most needed.
For more information about National Bioenergy Day events being held in your region, visit www.bioenergyday.org. Anyone interested in participating in this day can register on the site or contact Carrie Annand, VP of External Affairs for Biomass Power Association, at email@example.com.