I wrote a white paper about “Growing Oregon’s Biogas Industry” for the Energy Trust of Oregon and the Oregon Biogas Industry Working Group. I led every stage– pitching the concept, writing the first draft, organizing a expert group to review it, integrating their comments and formatting the final version.

I estimate that Oregon has realized only 8% of its biogas potential:

Because biogas would create at least 300 new, permanent full-time jobs and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 800,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent, the paper suggests Oregon should implement two policies to help biogas projects overcome current financial barriers:

1) Pass production incentives to raise the value of biogas energy and therefore increase the willingness of lenders to provide construction financing.  These include

  • Renewable Avoided Cost Rates: Oregon’s Public Utility Commission can set the avoided cost rates for renewable resources such as biogas at prices that reflect the value of renewable resources.
  • Feed-in Tariff: Legislation can require utilities to purchase biogas power at premium.
  • Enhancements to Oregon’s Renewable Portfolio Standard: 1) Specify a percentage of electricity that must be purchased from biogas projects and 2) credit thermal biogas energy under the renewable portfolio standard.

2) Implement a bridge loan program to provide financing for project construction.