Connecticut Buys Fake “Clean” Energy from New Hampshire Biomass Incinerator

[Other than ignoring all health and environmental impacts of biomass incineration, this article falsely claims that the Burgess BioPower incinerator in New Hampshire can operate at 90% efficiency, while in reality biomass power incinerators operate at 20-25% efficiency. -Ed.]

- by Geoffrey Craig and Derek Sands, Platts

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"196","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","style":"width: 228px; height: 192px; float: left; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px;"}}]]Connecticut's Public Utilities Regulatory Authority approved on Tuesday a New Hampshire-based, 75-MW biomass power plant as eligible to generate Class I renewable energy certificates.

The facility, called Burgess BioPower, has a 20-year power purchase agreement with Public Service Company of New Hampshire.

PSNH will purchase a maximum of 400,000 RECs annually. Assuming 90% efficiency, Burgess BioPower would be capable of generating 591,300 RECs per year, which means RECs would be leftover that can be sold in other markets, such as Connecticut.
Berlin Station, LLC owns Burgess Biopower. The manager is Cate Street Capital, an investment firm. The power plant's initial operations began in November 2013.

A 75-MW, non-intermittent renewable facility represents a significant injection of REC supply for a region that is generally struggling to keep pace with escalating renewable requirements.

In New Hampshire, for example, the Public Utilities Commission recently opened an investigation about the REC shortage, and whether it should take action to help alleviate the undersupply by tweaking the demand requirements. Otherwise, load-serving entities must pay a penalty fee when they are unable to obtain all of the RECs required under the renewable portfolio standard. New Hampshire's alternative compliance payment is set at $55.37/Class I REC in 2014, an amount adjusted each year to account for inflation.

PSNH expects a shortfall regarding the 2013 Class I obligation, according to a letter it filed in early May with the PUC. The utility has conducted public solicitations twice so far in 2014, but received no proposals.

Efforts will continue to be made to purchase Class I RECs through brokers and suppliers until a June 15 deadline reached, PSNH said. Despite these efforts, the utility does not believe it will be able to buy enough RECs to be in full compliance for 2013, it said.

But the outlook should change in 2014 when Burgess BioPower comes online, PSNH said. The RECs acquired from Burgess BioPower and other sources should be sufficient to meet demand, it said.

As for the RECs generated in excess of the amount purchased by PSNH, Monday's decision means these certificates can be directed toward Connecticut's Class I market. 

However, competition for the same RECs will exist because Burgess BioPower also qualifies as an RPS-eligible resource in Rhode Island and Maine.