– by Daniela Allee, June 27, 2018, NHPR
Governor Sununu signed a bill on Wednesday that would extend the subsidy for the Burgess BioPower biomass plant in Berlin by three years.
Under a 2011 agreement, Eversource pays Burgess at above-market prices. That’s capped at 100 million dollars, but that could be reached sooner than anticipated.
So, with this new bill, the subsidy will continue for three years after hitting the cap.
Those who opposed this bill argued that those above-market prices would be passed on to customers.
– by Ethan DeWitt, June 19, 2018, Concord Monitor
Photo: Biomass Power Association
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu vetoed two energy-related bills on Tuesday in a bid to block efforts he says would have cost electric ratepayers about $110 million over three years. But key members of his party are bristling at the move, calling the bills a vital lifeline for the biomass and timber industry in the North Country — and they say they have the votes to override it.
One bill, Senate Bill 365, would require utilities to purchase power from New Hampshire’s six independent biomass power plants. Supporters of the bill said on Tuesday it was critical to the survival of the plants and the 900 jobs they support, including one plant in Penacook. But Sununu said on Tuesday that the bill amounted to an “immense subsidy” for the companies.
– by Erin Voegele, June 29, 2018, Biomass Magazine
On June 28, the U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2018 Farm Bill with a strong bipartisan 86-11 vote. The legislation, titled “The Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018,” includes mandatory funding for Energy Title programs. The Agricultural Energy Coalition has spoken out to applaud the senate for its action.
The Energy Title includes a variety of programs that benefit the bioenergy and biofuels industries, including the Biomass Research and Development Initiative; the Biobased Markets Program; the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Product Manufacturing Assistance Program; the Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels; the Rural Energy for America Program; and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.
– by Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Mario Parker, June 7, 2018, Bloomberg News
A day after a tentative agreement to overhaul U.S. biofuel policy appeared to collapse amid farm-state concerns, EPA chief Scott Pruitt met to discuss the issue with the lead senator pushing for the changes: Ted Cruz.
Pruitt, the Environmental Protection Agency administrator, declined to comment on the June 6 meeting, but Cruz said it included discussion about the Renewable Fuel Standard and had been planned well before reports June 4 that a White House-brokered accord was unraveling. Cruz stressed that a deal to overhaul the biofuel policy could be revived.
“The conversations are ongoing,” Cruz said. “And I continue to believe that there is a positive win-win solution for everyone.”
– by Mark Lisheron, May 7, 2018, Texas Monitor
For almost six years, Austin Energy customers have been paying about $54 million a year for a power plant in East Texas not to produce biomass energy.
Those customers also paid $128 million to build the plant.
Nearly two years ago, the city of Austin hired a staff of attorneys to see if Austin Energy could get out from under a 20-year contract that even supporters of the wood-burning power plant came to see as a terrible deal for utility customers.
– by Rukhushan Mir, May 10, 2018, Urdu Point
Photo: Urdu Point
Electricity generation from solar resources in the United States reached 77 million megawatthours (MWh) in 2017, surpassing annual generation from biomass resources for the first time, the U.S.
Energy Information Administration (EIA) said. According to the EIA, among renewable sources, only hydro and wind generated more electricity in 2017, at 300 million MWh and 254 million MWh, respectively.
Biomass generating capacity has remained relatively unchanged recently, while solar generating capacity has consistently risen. Annual growth in solar generation often lags annual capacity additions because generating capacity tends to be added late in the year.
– by Steve Mistler, April 5, 2018, Maine Public Radio
Photo: Maine Public Radio
The Maine Public Utilities Commission voted Wednesday to approve a $1.2 million taxpayer subsidy to an embattled biomass company operating two plants in West Enfield and Jonesboro.
The vote by the three-member commission largely followed the recommendation of PUC staff, which found last month that Stored Solar LLC met only one of its three contract obligations, while falling well short of the other two.
It maintained the agreed upon number of jobs, but purchased less than 40 percent of the waste wood it promised, and it spent $1 million less on capital expenditures than it was supposed to.
– by Tux Turkel, May 22, 2018, Portland Press Herald
The University of Maine in Orono would get much of its heat and electricity from an on-campus Renewable Energy Center fueled by locally harvested wood and a huge solar array, according to a plan being negotiated by the university system and Honeywell International.
The outline of Honeywell’s power contract proposal is contained in a document prepared for the University of Maine System last year in response to requests for proposals to transition most of the Orono campus from natural gas and fuel oil to renewable energy. Honeywell’s proposal was a runner-up in the original RFP process. The financial section is heavily redacted and omits any information about the cost of the power contract, although it has been estimated to be worth more than $100 million.
– by Emery Cowan, May 26, 2018, Arizona Daily Sun
APS is looking for new proposals that would use the small trees and branches from Arizona forests to generate a small portion of the energy the utility sends to customers around the state.
The idea is to provide a market for woody material that needs to be thinned from overcrowded, high-risk forests in northern and eastern Arizona in order to reduce the risk of severe wildfires, improve forest health and benefit watersheds.
There’s one big problem, though, according to the head of the state’s only utility-scale biomass power plant.