- by Biomass Thermal Energy Council, March 23, 2015, Biomass Magazine

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"444","attributes":{"alt":"wood pellet biomass heating","class":"media-image","style":"width: 255px; height: 190px; margin: 3px 10px; float: left;"}}]][Biomass industry groups overjoyed with the President’s most recent support for biomass energy. –Josh] 

The Biomass Thermal Energy Council  and the Pellet Fuels Institute (PFI) commend President Obama’s commitment to expanding the use of renewable thermal energy with the issuance of Executive Order “Planning for Federal Sustainability in the Next Decade.”

The Executive Order calls for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions across federal operations by at least 40 percent through 2025 through a broad host of measures, including building energy conservation, energy procurement inclusive of renewable thermal technology, and fleet management.

According to BTEC’s Executive Director Joseph Seymour, “The President’s Executive Order demonstrates strong and resourceful leadership in transforming federal operations through energy management. In particular, we applaud the President for creating new pathways for deploying safe, cost effective and innovative technologies, including biomass thermal energy, for heating and electricity, while reinforcing energy efficiency.”

“Promoting the use of proven renewable technologies like those that utilize pellet heat for federal buildings makes good sense,” said Jennifer Hedrick, executive director of the Pellet Fuels Institute. “Using wood pellets to heat buildings is cost effective and environmentally friendly – and is a method that more federal agencies are exploring.”

In the 2014 Green Proving Ground report, the General Services Administration concluded that biomass heating systems could be deployed at facilities nationwide that currently rely on fuel oil for thermal energy needs. Last winter, the Ketchikan Federal Building in Ketchikan, Alaska, became the first federal building managed by GSA with a pellet boiler. Furthermore, in a February 2015 letter Senator Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, requested of GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini that his agency should reconsider its procurement policies that limit federal facilities' use of biomass for heating. The Department of Energy's Federal Energy Management Program has reported that in Fiscal Year 2013, federal buildings used approximately 143 million gallons of fuel oil and 19 million gallons of propane, for a total cost of nearly $534 million. 

The Executive Order was released March 19.