A healthy biomass industry helps forest owners sustainably manage their forests
The New Hampshire Legislature recently approved three bills which will benefit the biomass industry, and, by extension, the private forest owners in our state. As a private forestland owner, the Forest Society supports all three bills because a healthy biomass industry helps private forest owners sustainably manage their forests. The harvesting of wood products is a significant part of our multi-use approach to being responsible land managers. Careful and sustainable timber harvesting can result in the creation of younger forests, thereby increasing the age and size class diversity of our landscape. Maintaining markets for low-grade timber reinforces our ability to protect our state's iconic forest landscapes.
Senate Bill 365 would set up temporary three-year power contracts between the State’s six biomass plants and Eversource and the other distribution utilities under which the utilities would purchase the plants' energy output.
Senate Bill 446 would expand the state’s net metering program to include biomass power plants. The bill will strengthen New Hampshire's net metering laws so businesses wanting to make their own power and sell the excess onto the grid can do so more easily. Some businesses are interested in doing this with biomass boilers and solar panels.
Senate Bill 577 would extend an agreement through which Eversource buys power from the Burgess Biopower plant in Berlin.
Governor Sununu is now deciding whether or not to support these bills. We would encourage all those who are concerned about maintaining the health of our forests to ask the Governor to sign these bills into law. You can also remind his office of the language in the 2018-2019 State Budget requiring the NH Office of Strategic Initiatives (OSI) to produce a study on the economic viability of the biomass electric generation resources in New Hampshire. The provisions in both SB 365 and SB 577 expire in three years but they will give the OSI enough time to develop a long-term solution while giving the biomass plants the interim support needed to maintain their operations.
Let Governor Sununu know of your support by calling (603) 271-2121 or by using the email form found HERE.