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Biomass Power Plant Managers

History

Biomass is organic material such as trees, plants, and animal fats and waste. Biomass energy has been used since early mankind; for example, cavemen burned trees and other materials to cook food and provide heat and light. During the industrial revolution, natural gas and fossil fuels were in abundance and so there was little interest in harnessing renewable energy sources. The energy crisis in the 1970s, however, highlighted how dependent the United States had become on foreign countries for oil and how domestic development of energy sources had consequently diminished.

Research and development of renewable energy sources such as biomass has since grown. There is now increased awareness of how mining, processing, and usage of fossil fuels, natural gas, and other nonrenewable energy sources have damaged the environment. Using biomass energy can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which have a negative impact on the ozone layer.

In the early 1990s, the Energy Policy Act deregulated and restructured conventional power industries, offering people more options for choosing energy sources. In 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act aimed to boost renewable energy usage by including $80 billion in clean energy investments. Consumers and utility companies receive federal and state tax incentives when they buy renewable energy. As a result, interest in biomass energy sources has since increased. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that biomass fuels provided about 5 percent of the U.S. primary energy used in 2016, and approximately 11 percent of that was derived from biomass in municipal waste.

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