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Biomass plants get new regulations in Massachusetts

After two years of evaluation, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) has finalised its Massachusetts Renewable Portfolio Standard Class One regulations for biomass eligibility.

The final conclusion requires all woody biomass plants to generate power at a minimum of 50% efficiency to receive one half of a renewable energy credit or 60% to receive a whole one. Most plants were required to operate at a minimum of 25% efficiency before this amendment.

Some concern has been voiced about these regulations however, with the Biomass Power Association CEO Bob Cleaves believing that ‘if these standards were applied nationally, nearly 50% of operational power plants would be considered non-renewable’.

The DOER has also put Forest Impact Assessments in place at a minimum of one every five years to keep an eye on the industry’s environmental responsibilities.

Despite outward concerns, the DOER is confident these regulations will help the Commonwealth hit its greenhouse gas reduction target of 80% by 2050.

‘The adoption of this revised regulation and guidelines demonstrates our administration’s commitment to advancing the Commonwealth’s clean energy goals and greenhouse gas reduction commitments based on sound science and prudent policy,’ says DOER commissioner Mark Sylvia. ‘Through this regulation and other initiatives, we believe there is a role for biomass energy in the Commonwealth focused on high efficiency use of the limited sustainable wood resource.’