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New legislation in MA, the Clean Energy Biofuels Act, was passed to encourage the growth of an advanced biofuels industry. As it relates to your home heating fuel, the legislation requires biofuel content in all home heating fuel sold in the state. See the “Links” section of our website under the heading “Oil Heat Advantage” for the full legislative text and other accompanying articles and information.

The portion of the legislation that affects home heating fuel requires a minimum percentage of biofuel as component of all diesel fuel and home heating fuel sold in the Commonwealth, starting at 2 percent in 2010 and ramping up to 5 percent by 2013. Massachusetts is the first state in the nation to require biofuel in home heating fuel. All biofuels must meet high standards for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions over their entire lifecycles (growing, processing, and combustion) in order to qualify for the content mandate. The state Department of Energy Resources has authority to delay the minimum content requirements if there are no biofuels available that meet those standards.

What are Biofuels and what does this mean for you?

Biofuels are substitutes for liquid petroleum fuels (such as heating oil) that are derived from renewable organic matter such as corn, soy, switchgrass, agricultural waste, wood, and waste vegetable oil. “Advanced” biofuels are generally derived from non-food-based feedstocks and defined in federal law as those that yield a lifecycle reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50 percent compared with fossil fuels.

Biofuels, while better for the environment over the long haul, normally are a bit more costly than the traditional petroleum-based fuels. Needham Energy, as always, is on the cutting edge of technology and is already working on relationships with biofuel companies to provide legally appropriate fuel to your home. We will keep you informed as time goes on through our newsletters and websites and, of course, you may call and speak directly to our President, Neil Gleason, if you want more technical information.

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