Obama Administration Releases Biogas Roadmap

August 4, 2014 By Karen Henry

biogas-energy-manageMethane is both a potent greenhouse gas and a valuable source of energy. Biogas systems can capture methane from farming operations and use it to generate renewable energy.

The potential for the biogas industry is well demonstrated, but there are still relatively few biogas systems in use on farms across the country. To that end, the Obama Administration has just released the Biogas Opportunities Roadmap. The Roadmap supports the Climate Action Plan – Strategy to Reduce Methane Emissions and builds on progress made to date to identify voluntary actions that can be taken to reduce methane emissions through the use of biogas systems. It also outlines strategies to overcome barriers to build a robust biogas industry in the United States.

Biogas is a proven source of energy used in the United States and around the world. The United States currently has more than 2,000 sites producing biogas. The Roadmap found that with the proper support, more than 11,000 additional biogas systems could be deployed in the United States. If fully realized, these biogas systems could produce enough energy to power more than 3 million American homes and reduce methane emissions equivalent to 4 to 54 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in 2030.

In order to realize these opportunities, the Roadmap identifies actions the Federal government will take to increase the use of biogas to meet its renewable energy goals, strengthen the economy and reduce methane emissions exclusively through voluntary actions. For example, last year, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US dairy industry renewed a partnership in support of a voluntary industry goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from dairy farms by 25 percent by 2020.

The Opportunities Roadmap also lays out a plan for the USDA, the US Department of Energy and the US Environmental Protection Agency to use existing programs to enhance the use of biogas systems in the United States by conducting research to accelerate the development of bio-based products from biomass systems and strengthening programs that support farmers as they install these systems on their operations, among other things.

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