BD Zones and BDO Zones: Weaponizing Biomass to support a Bio-Fueled Economic Recovery

May 20, 2020 |

Nomination of BD Zones

In the face of a shattered US economy and the imperative of a quick recovery, speed is of the essence: nomination of the first BD Zones should be both top-down and bottom-up.

BD Zones could be quickly nominated by USDA Rural Development, US Forest Service, US Endowment for Forests & Communities, state bodies, or governors. Concurrently, a bottom-up program should be set up to accept nomination of BD Zones from local communities and operators with boots-on-the-ground knowledge when it comes to biomass availability that governments cannot replicate. Additional BD Zones could be nominated by associations, mayors, community organizations or reliable anchor suppliers of biomass with strong balance sheets, such as large landowners, forestry companies, sawmills, agricultural co-ops, food manufacturers, waste haulers or landfills. USDA has a number of funding programs that could support this.

There should be particular BD Zones for different categories of biomass: wood fiber, agricultural residues like corn stover, or wheat straw, purpose grown crops like switchgrass, food waste, manure, or even MSW.[v] There is no limit to the number of BD Zones a state could have. In fact, more is better: more BD Zones will create greater efficiencies for developers and investors and drive more bio-economic development at the community level.

Driving Economic Development in BD Zones

BD Zone certification is a powerful tool that can be leveraged by State Economic Development Offices to promote local bio-business development and create important on-the-ground connections between project developers and local owners and suppliers of the biomass.

At the federal level, the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) could promote BD Zones to international developers looking to site bioenergy projects in the US. In the same way as many states do for Certified Industrial Site Designations, government economic development organizations may choose to allocate funds to subsidize part or all of the cost of BD Zone Designation and increase the number of qualified BD Zones in their states.
State Economic Development Offices would be tapped to promote certified BD Zones on their existing websites and take submissions for additional BD Zones on an ongoing basis (Fig. 1).

By itself, the BD Zone Program addresses a clear need and provides substantial economic development benefits. Coupled with the tax incentives of the OZone Program, that impact can be powerfully magnified.

Click on the next page to read about Step 2: Clarify OZone Guidance and Designate BDO Zones, BDO Zones De-risking and Driving Investment, why the time to move is now, and 3 recommendations to government.

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