Senators listen to calls for biomass subsidies

On Tuesday, testimony from the New Hampshire forest products industry testified in support of resurrecting biomass energy subsidies.

New Hampshire Public Radio reports those working with timber and biomass saying the uncertainty is negatively affecting industry, facilities left untouched and orders aren’t shipping.

"I look at this as not a subsidy – I look at this as an investment,” said Shelagh Connelly, running a local biomass-recycling business in Holderness , “It affects the little people like me and my employees. And I just ask you – I beseech you! Please keep biomass alive in New Hampshire."

There is also suggestion the state timber industry could collapse due to the diminishing market for low-grade wood that the biomass plants provide, potentially hurting the state economy through inhibiting forest management.

A bipartisan subsidy proposal asks utility ratepayers subsidise biomass energy production by having utilities buy new forms of energy generation credit from biomass power plants, but doesn’t require utilities to buy the electricity.

“This gives us an opportunity to live for three more years and look at market conditions when those three years are over,” said Michael O’Leary, Bridgewater Power biomass plant asset manager.

Lawmakers state their amendment avoids regulatory problems that have plagued the previous version of the law – those previous versions requiring purchase of electricity at set rates, which the state is not allowed to prescribe.

You can read the full report here.

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