The Maryland Energy Administration has announced a new subsidy program to support residential biomass. The $50,000 project will issue rebates up to $500 for the purchase of wood biomass pellet burning stoves.
The Maryland Energy Administration is allocating $50,000 to a pilot program that will provide rebates for partial payment of qualifying residential wood and pellet stoves.
The pilot program will start this year and operate on a first come, first served basis. John Ackerly, president of the Alliance for Green Heat, doesn't expect the funds to last long. "Then, if it's successful, MEA will presumably put more funding toward it, and the legislature could also come up with additional funding as well," Ackerly said.
The final details have not yet been decided, but the rebates will be the lesser of $500 or 30 percent of the installed cost of a wood or pellet stove, according to Ackerly.
"This program will extend our renewable energy incentives both to a different technology and to a potentially diverse group of participants, including those in rural parts of Maryland," said Frederick Hoover, director of clean energy at MEA, in a letter to Maryland Delegate Heather Mizeur. Mizeur was the lead sponsor of the House Bill 0996, the Renewable Energy for All Act, which laid the groundwork for the pilot program. The bill did not pass, but the MEA has the power to start the program without a legislative bill.
"We are thrilled that the cleanest wood and pellet stoves will finally be part of Maryland's renewable energy rebate program," Ackerly said. "Throughout the US, rural low and middle-income families struggle to pay their utility bills while generous rebates and tax-incentives flowed to some of our wealthiest citizens to install solar panels. A $3,000 pellet stove can displace as much fossil fuel as a $30,000 array of solar panels."
Maryland is the second Northeast state to implement a biomass stove incentive program. New Hampshire has a similar program in place for the citizens of Berlin.