Despite the current political climate, enterprising developers have been driving the renewable energy market in the United States for decades now. But even though solar-, wind-, and hydro-power developments have been efficient alternatives to coal power plants and helped foster a cleaner environment, even the most agile renewable energy technologies can fail, hindered by their technical requirements. With wind and solar farms showing characteristics of being inefficient and unreliable, there is a pressing need for increased reliance on novel, even shocking, sources of energy. Because types of materials that can be combusted are abundant, if not unlimited, greater focus on the reuse of materials past their life cycle could contribute to a decrease in the amount of waste and dependency on finite fossil fuels. After decades of moderate success with recycling, more recently, scientists began looking into technologies that could recapture energy from organic matter.
As it turns out, the answer may be right in front of us—or perhaps more accurately, inside of us. This Note discusses the gruesome proposal of utilizing crematoria to produce electricity from the burning of human corpses. But before jumping into the topic, this Note first examines federal energy policy and the state policies of California, Connecticut, and Oregon for their approaches to energy recovered from organic matter, i.e., biomass. It asserts that current policies do not give enough attention to biomass as a source of energy and proposes a series of regulatory changes to promote the use of this form of electricity generation. To make a point, this Note accentuates not only environmental benefits, but also a variety of economic incentives. In the final section, this Note applies the federal energy regulatory framework and the Renewable Portfolio Standards from three states to the economic analysis of crematoria-generated electricity for the purposes of Renewable Energy Credits.
Michalska, Adriana K., "REC-overing Body Heat: How Awarding Renewable Energy Credits to Crematoria Can Encourage the Development of Renewable Electricity" (2018). Connecticut Law Review. 395.