The Pellet Fuels Institute held a December 2012 fly-in trip to Washington, D.C., to fight for a biomass heating tax incentive, and those efforts have paid off. Included in the fiscal cliff tax deal was the stove tax credit, which provides a tax credit of 10 percent up to $300 for the purchase of any biomass burning appliance, including pellet stoves. The credit lasts through 2013 and is retroactive through 2012.
Jennifer Hedrick, executive director of the PFI, said that although it may be difficult to judge a single incentive such as this one, PFI thinks that it will have a positive impact on fuel and stove sales.
“When the credit was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009, we were in the midst of a recession, and we did not see the spike in stove shipments that we anticipated. However,” she said, “with the economic rebound, as well as the high heating costs that many Americans continue to be faced with, we’re hopeful that this credit will provide further incentive for homeowners to switch to a biomass heating appliance.”
Although PFI was successful in its efforts to push the stove tax credit, Hedrick said her team will now be focusing on new areas. In addition to attempts to help the current Farm Bill’s Energy Title receive full funding, PFI will also continue to focus on tax policy, including, she said, incentives for the conversion of biomass for use in thermal applications. “And, like all industries, we will be following the anticipated tax reform debate with a watchful eye and will seek opportunities to weigh in there.”
PFI is also working with other trade groups, the Biomass Thermal Energy Council, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association and other companies within the industry to encourage the Energy Information Administration to expand coverage of residential biomass usage in their energy reports.