Bioenergy is derived from biomass. Biomass is organic material which is regenerated over time, such as wood, municipal waste, and alcohol fuels derived from agricultural crops. Energy is released by either direct burning or by creating a liquid-based fuel for transportation, such as ethanol and biodiesel. Uses for these fuels include generating electricity, fueling transportation needs, and heating homes. In 2003, more than 3% of the nation’s energy generation came from bioenergy.

Lawmakers of Pennsylvania have established programs to encourage development of alternative energy and biofuel in an effort to end dependency on foreign oil and produce cleaner forms of energy. Pennsylvania has been classified by the U.S. Department of Energy as having good biomass potential due to the state’s reliance on and involvement in agriculture.

In 2003, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection reported that 10.8 billion kilowatt hours of electricity were generated from biofuels and that the commonwealth had a potential to generate 25% of its total energy from biofuels. In other forms of biofuel, the Energy Information Administration, a U.S. Department of Energy office that produces official U.S. Government energy statistics, describes Pennsylvania as one of the highest producers of electricity in the country with the use of municipal solid waste and landfill gas.