January 8, 2021. The $2.3 trillion spending bill — titled the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 — was signed into law on December 27, 2020. In addition to $900 billion in pandemic relief, the Act includes a few benefits for biogas, notes the American Biogas Council (ABC). These include:
- Extension of the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for renewable electricity for open and closed loop biomass, which includes anaerobic digestion, until Dec. 31, 2021. According to ABC, this is a 1.2 cents/kWh PTC that “can be used for 10 years after construction begins as well as the ability to irrevocably convert to a one-time 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC).”
- Language in the Act that instructs the U.S. EPA to activate the e-RIN pathway in the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) by taking action on existing e-RIN applications within 90 days of passage of the bill. EPA has been dragging its feet on activating this pathway, which would enable digester operators that generate electricity to participate in the RFS.
- FY 2021 Agriculture Appropriations Bill includes a request from ABC and the Ag Energy Coalition for $10 million to establish a pilot program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address under-utilized technologies within the USDA managed Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The REAP program supports biogas-electricity and biogas-RNG (renewable natural gas) projects. “This is a great first step in establishing a reserve fund and will allow us to strengthen our position during the run up to the next Farm Bill,” explains Maureen Walsh, ABC’s Director of Federal Policy. “Furthermore, the incoming Agriculture Secretary is eager to support the digester industry and further deploy digesters across rural America. This pilot program could be one of the ways he does so.”