The LPDD team is proud to announce the publication of another new piece of model legislation, a model carbon-neutral bioenergy acquisition law. This outstanding contribution to the LPDD implementation project was drafted by Professor Jamison Colburn and his student, Lisa Cumming, at Penn State Law School. Peer reviewing was contributed by Professor Nadia Ahmad of Barry University School of Law. The model law is available to view here.
Excerpted from the introductory memorandum to the model law:
As states consider carbon neutrality plans, the emissions profile of biomass as a resource in the statewide energy portfolio must be considered. A number of peer reviewed studies have maintained that some bioenergy sources are not actually “carbon neutral” and may even contribute to excess carbon emissions, depending on how they are managed and how any energy is recovered.
Most states will delegate authority to adopt and maintain guidelines specifying the conditions under which the state will credit biomass as a carbon-reducing energy source. In evaluating different sources of bioenergy, such as woody biomass, crop wastes, etc., different forms of domain expertise may be needed. It is important to pair the jurisdiction to prescribe with appropriate personnel and other capabilities.
The Model Law that follows implements the following recommendation from the Bioenergy Feedstocks chapter of Legal Pathways to Deep Decarbonization: State governments should modify their acquisition rules to specifically control energy procurement, “requiring that any contracts related to procurements of electricity generated from bioenergy utilize feedstocks that meet decarbonization criteria.” Load-serving entities and power companies that propose to contract with the state government to sell electricity generated from bioenergy must acquire such energy according to decarbonization criteria.