The introduction of the Federal Biomass Crop Assistance Programme (BCAP) has led to a drop in biomass costs in two of the major US markets, according to the North Amercian Wood Fibre Review.

BCAP, designed to alleviate biomass costs in an effort to bring more raw material to the market, is currently suspended after getting underway in 2009.

More than US$500m had been allocated to BCAP in the initial phase, though only US$170m to date has been released. The programme is expected to be reinstated in the autumn.

In northern California and northern New England, two major biomass using regions, BCAP has had the effect of bringing out additional volumes of forest residues and reducing delivered costs. In the first quarter of 2010, prices fell almost 30% in northern California from the previous quarter.