– by Ethan DeWitt, July 3, 2018, Concord Monitor
Photo: Construction Equipment Guide
A third biomass power company has made plans to temporarily wind down operations following Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto of a bill that sought to prop up the industry, an official confirmed on Tuesday.
Bridgewater Power Plant in Ashland, N.H., joins two other plants in the state that have stopped buying wood chips from local suppliers and are planning to burn through their stockpile in the coming weeks, according to Michael O’Leary, the plant’s asset manager.
– by John Lippman, June 30, 2018, Valley News
Photo: New Hampshire Business Review
Eric Cole was at home on Poverty Lane making dinner earlier this month when his phone rang. One of his customers was calling with bad news: A new $390,000 logging skidder that Cole, a heavy equipment salesman, had just delivered would have to be returned.
The customer, an Upper Valley logger whom Cole declined to identify, explained that Gov. Chris Sununu’s veto the day before of a bill that would have required utilities to purchase a portion of their electricity from the state’s wood-burning power plants had dealt a blow to his business. He would no longer be able to afford the $5,000 monthly payments for the piece of machinery that grabs logs, hauls them out of the woods and loads them onto trucks.
– 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 Avory Brookins, May 21, 2018, Rhode Island Public Radio
Photo: Rhode Island Public Radio
Environmentalists and green energy companies in Rhode Island are at odds over a bill that could advance the development of biomass power plants in the state.
Biomass is organic material, such as wood, that can be burned to produce energy. The Environmental Protection Agency also considers it a renewable resource.
However, biomass is not included in the state’s “net-metering” program, which applies to other renewable technologies, such as solar and wind.
– February 19, 2018, Bioenergy Insight
Photo: Swift County Monitor
A recently published study from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has revealed the economic impact of closing a biomass power plant in the state.
In spring 2017 the Minnesota state legislature passed a law allowing Xcel Energy to buy and then shutdown Benson Power, a 50mW biomass facility that uses a mixture of poultry litter and wood to generate electricity. When announcing the closure, the legislature also directed DEED to carry out a study on the economic impact, state-wide, of closing the facility.
– by Scott Thistle, January 10, 2018, Portland Press Herald
Photo: Ben McCanna / Press Herald
Gov. Paul LePage told lawmakers he opposes a pair of bills that would have taxpayers fund a $45 million subsidy to help Maine’s foundering biomass industry.
In a rare appearance before the Legislature’s budget-writing Appropriations Committee, LePage said the Legislature should focus instead on ways of creating industries that bring greater value from the state’s more than 18 million acres of forest lands.
The bills to support investments and a low-interest revolving loan fund come less than two years after the Legislature passed a $13.4 million taxpayer-funded bailout of the industry that LePage reluctantly supported at the time.