What is Biomass Energy?
Biomass is any organic material that has stored sunlight in the form of chemical energy. Biomass is considered the oldest source of renewable energy because of its earlier uses for fire. Biomass energy is considered a renewable energy resource because it can re-grow over a relatively short period of time. This energy can be used as a source of heat and/or electric power or liquid fuels. Wood is the best known source for biomass energy in the United States. Other biomass resources include agricultural residues, organic components of municipal and solid waste, and terrestrial and aquatic crops.
Biomass fuels provide about 3 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. There is currently one biomass cogeneration facility in Montana at Stoltze Land and Lumber Company in Columbia Falls. That facility is 2.5 megawatts and sells power to Flathead Electric Cooperative.