Tag Archives: vermont

[NEWS] Biomass Facility Rejection Taken to Vermont Supreme Court

– by Gordon Dritschilo, March 29, 2017, Rutland Herald

beaver wood energy

Proposed Fairhaven Biomass Facility (Graphic: Beaver Wood Energy)

An attempt to revive a biomass project has hit a speed bump that has the developer taking his case to the Vermont Supreme Court.

Ted Verrill, owner of Pequot Energy in Connecticut, has filed notice he is appealing the Public Service Board’s rejection of a powerpurchase agreement that would have paved the way for the former Beaver Wood Energy project — now referred to as Fair Haven Generation — to resume development.

Pequot owns the Fair Haven project, and was pursuing a power purchase agreement with VEPP Inc., the nonprofit organization administering two renewable energy programs on behalf of the state.

Read more

Biomass Energy: Carbon Neutral or Not? [SPRING 2017]

To access this issue, please subscribe to quarterly issues of The Biomass Monitor

Biomass Energy: Carbon Neutral or Not?

Study Assesses Economic Benefits of Biomass Energy on Rural Communities

OPINION: Middlebury College Declares Carbon Neutrality, Thanks to Biomass

OPINION: Middlebury Biomass Not Carbon Neutral 

[NEWS] Vermont Hospital’s Heating Facility May Burn Woody Biomass

– by Edward Damon, November 4, 2016, Bennington Banner

client_southwestern_vermont_medical_centerA new boiler plant at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center cleared local permitting this week, but state regulators still need to sign off on the project.

Development Review Board members on Tuesday approved the site plan for a new central heating plant, a $3.75 million project that SVMC officials estimate would save $200,000 a year and lower the hospital’s carbon emissions. Oil-fired boilers would be replaced with more efficient units that burn natural gas, with the option to someday use biomass and wood, according to plans filed with the state.

SVMC has applied for a “certificate of need” from the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB), the state’s health care regulatory board, which must approve major healthcare projects. The board held a public hearing in Montpelier on Oct. 27 that a handful of hospital officials attended, according to the board’s website.

Read more

[EXCLUSIVE] The Future of Biomass Energy in Vermont

– by Josh Schlossberg, October 14, 2016, The Vermont Independent

Vermont’s 2016 Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) aims for a statewide transition to ninety percent renewable energy by 2050 while “virtually eliminating reliance on oil.”

To help reach these goals, the state seeks to cut energy consumption by fifteen percent by 2015 and by over one-third by 2050 through efficiency and conservation measures.

Within ten years Vermont hopes to procure twenty-five percent of its energy from renewables, with forty percent by 2035. For 2025, the breakdown would include sixty-seven percent renewable electricity, thirty percent renewable heating, and ten percent renewable transportation fuels.

A significant component of renewable energy would come from bioenergy, mostly sourced from forests, with a small percentage of agricultural crops such as willow and grasses.

The CEP outlines eight principles to guide the further development of bioenergy in the state.

Read more

[OPINION] Helping Low-Income Vermonters Heat with Wood

[Read the opposing view, “Montpelier, Vermont’s Biomass Heating Facility Nothing to Celebrate,” by Willem Post, Consulting Engineer.]

– by Jessie-Ruth Corkins, Operations Director, Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative

The Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative (VSHI) is a small non-profit based out of northern Vermont, started by myself and other eager young students and teachers. We have helped 25 Vermont families on state fuel assistance transition to wood pellet heating and advocated for smart decisions regarding the long term sustainability of Vermont’s forest resources within a comprehensive renewable energy plan for Vermont.

VSHI was formed in 2008, just after many Vermont high schools had transitioned to woodchip heating. As a student at the time, I was motivated by the dreadful effects of climate change, and an understanding that transitioning more of Vermont’s infrastructure to wood heating presented both a solution and a challenge for the long term sustainability of our state’s forests. Could we heat more homes, businesses and schools in Vermont with wood? And who would advocate for our low-income neighbors who are forced to make tough decisions to stay warm during the winter?

Historically in Vermont and today, in places all around the world (for example Haiti), economics and lack of planning have caused severe forest resource depletion. Our Green Mountain state was once significantly cleared for pasture land and timber. And in the last 10 years multiple proposals have been on the table to use Vermont’s forests for more energy production, but deciding which proposal makes the best sense remains the question.

The Biomass Energy Resource Center published numbers in 2011 stating the available wood from our forests that could be harvested annually and remain a sustainable output long-term is roughly 2,000,000 green tons/year. Currently we are harvesting about ½ our capacity and could increase harvesting by 900,000 tons/year. To put that in perspective, that’s ½ cord of wood per person in Vermont, which doesn’t equal much heat per person, given Vermont winters.

Use of wood in the 21st century is complex but meaningful. With invasive species and many of ways to turn wood into energy, deciding the scale and type of energy output that makes sense for Vermonters moving forward is a fundamental question. VSHI does not support electricity generation from wood given the energy lost during conversion, and because turning Vermont’s limited wood supply into electricity would not reduce anyone’s electric rates. Instead we advocate for wood pellet production through small co-operatives around the state. Wood pellets are an easy to use and safe alternative to firewood and often make sense in low-income households. Transitioning more low-income Vermont homes to wood pellet heating would reduce the burden for monetary fuel assistance in Vermont.

Finally, while I support the Vermont Public Service Department’s work to advance wood heating technologies in Vermont—specifically though grants to schools and municipal buildings—they are missing a sub-set of Vermonters who can’t afford the transition to greener heating on their own. I encourage the Clean Energy Development Fund (a subset of the Vermont Public Service Department) to partner with Vermont’s Fuel Assistance Office and other key players to encourage Vermont-scale pellet production and invest in transitioning more homes in Vermont to wood pellet heating within the finite limits of the resource.

Jessie-Ruth Corkins is Operations Director of Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative, a non-profit organization dedicated to the establishment of affordability and sustainability in Vermont’s home heating economy.

« Older Entries