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BCAP makes a difference to US biomass

The price of biomass across the US has been affected by the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) set up by the US federal government in 2009 to lower the prices of biomass and bring more raw materials to the market, says the North American Wood Fiber Review (NAWFR).

Northern California and Northern New England are two of the major biomass markets in the US, both housing a significant number of biomass plants. In the Q1 of this year the cost for wood biomass fell in these two areas and the NAWFR claims this is partly due to the BCAP.

BCAP’s vision was to increase the amount of forest residues and decrease the price of delivery as the demand for biomass has risen because of an interest in fossil fuel alternatives.

However, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the programme has now been temporarily suspended as over $500 million (€581 million) has been spent on the initial phase between the second half of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010. Spending is now under control after just $170 million was pumped into the project by the end of April. BCAP is now predicted to return by the end of 2010.

The BCAP did have the desired effect in California, although this is one of the few states where it did. At the beginning of 2010 the NAWFR reported the cost of biomass dropped by almost 30% since the Q4 of 2009. It is a similar story for New England as biomass prices lowered during the first quarter of this year.