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November 29. 2012 8:14PM

PUC approves renewable energy projects at Colby-Sawyer Colege, Sullivan County Complex

CONCORD - A $100,000 plan to install solar electric panels on buildings at Colby-Sawyer College in New London and $300,000 for a wood-fired energy system at the Sullivan County Complex were among the renewable energy projects recently approved for grants by the Public Utilities Commission.

Financed by the state's Renewable Energy Fund (REF), the grants are designed to help reduce New Hampshire's dependence on fossil fuels and to meet the state's renewable energy goals. They were awarded through a competitive process that involved 26 applications requesting a total of nearly $7 million, according to a PUC spokesperson.

Ten of the applicants were interviewed by a screening committee, which passed its findings on to the three PUC commissioners. They conducted their own review and made final decisions on seven grants totalling $750,000.

Sullivan County received a $300,000 grant toward the $3.18 million cost of a wood-fired energy system at the County Complex. Wood chips will be used to generate both heat and electricity for several county buildings, including a jail and nursing home. The system will use 1,900 tons of wood chips annually and will reduce the county's use of fossil fuel by 125,000 gallons of diesel fuel per year.

Walker Wellington will get $100,000 to install a turbine generator in the outfall pipe at the Dover wastewater treatment facility. The turbine will generate 80 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Colby Solar was awarded $100,000 to install solar electric panels on campus buildings at Colby-Sawyer College. The solar system is expected to produce 150,000 kilowatt-hours of electricity per year, resulting in a savings of about $20,000. The total project cost is $474,622.

Northeast BioEnergy Systems will get $93,000 to install a woodchip boiler at the Russell Elementary School in Rumney. The total project cost is $372,000. The new boiler will displace approximately 12,000 gallons of heating oil, resulting in cost savings of $35,000 annually.

The University of New Hampshire will get $59,750 toward the $119,500 needed for a solar hot air system on the facade of Kingsbury Hall on the Durham campus. The system will use sunlight to pre-heat the large volumes of fresh air that pass through the building's air handling units.

The Claremont Fire Department will get $52,000 to install a high-efficiency wood pellet boiler at its 1917 Vintage Fire Station.

Cartographic Associates will get a $43,000 grant to replace three oil-fired furnaces at its offices in downtown Littleton with a single, high-efficiency wood pellet boiler.

Money for the program comes from the state's Renewable Energy Standards law. The law requires all electric service providers to get a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable energy providers, like wood-fired or small hydroelectric plants. If a service provider can't get enough renewable energy to meet the requirements, it makes "alternative compliance payments" that go into the renewable energy fund.



dsolomon@unionleader.com


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