The PA Biomass Energy Association (PBEA), Harrisburg, Pa., is an industry-driven, non-profit association working to advance the environmentally responsible use of biomass for clean heat and for combined heat and power applications. Recognizing biomass as a strategic initiative, the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund (WPPSEF) (wppsef.org) provided PBEA with an administrative and educational grant, providing the association with the start-up funding necessary to start. The PBEA says it is the state's first industry-driven organization that is working to advance the use of biomass for clean heat and power energy applications in Pennsylvania.
"A group of companies and individuals involved in the biomass industry in Pennsylvania had been discussing the need for an industry-driven association for some time, and with the financial support offered by the West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund, we have been able to put that collective thought into reality," says Jay Clark of AFS Energy Systems and president of PBEA.
The grant from WPPSEF will co-fund PBEA's general administrative activities through 2013, fund development of a PA Biomass energy prospectus that will be used to document where the current status of the industry is and what is needed for growth, and to support PBEA meetings and educational field tours. WPPSEF’s co-funding also will support PBEA's annual fall conferences in 2012 and 2013.
The WPPSEF invests in clean energy technologies throughout Pennsylvania’s West Penn Power service region. Investments are made to promote the use of renewable and clean energy, energy conservation and energy efficiency, and the attraction, establishment, and retention of sustainable energy businesses.
"The West Penn Power Sustainable Energy Fund grant enabled the former PA Biomass Working Group to evolve into an industry-driven, non-profit association. We hope this grant will provide the necessary infrastructure to facilitate the growth of the industry and drive more biomass projects within the Commonwealth," says Joel Morrison, WPPSEF director.
PBEA efforts are focused on three areas:
- Promote and support the use of Pennsylvania feedstocks in heat and combined heat and power markets;
- Promote and provide guidance on clean, efficient, biomass heat and combined heat and power technologies and installations; and
- Educate end users and policy makers on how biomass can be used to meet the heat and power needs in Pennsylvania in a cost effective, environmentally responsible manner.
In April 2012, PBEA selected the Pennsylvania Energy Resources Group (ERG) to manage day-to-day operations of the association, and to assist in PBEA's strategic planning to ensure long-term viability of the organization.
"ERG has worked with biomass energy companies for five years, developing and financing projects. Each company has told us they needed an association to serve as the voice for these industries," says ERG Partner John Nikoloff. "We are very pleased to have played a role in the association's inception, and we're excited to be helping biomass related firms remain a key segment of Pennsylvania's energy future."