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Wood chip welfare: No more biomass subsidies

July 08. 2018 10:12PM

After benefitting for years from subsidies supplied by New Hampshire ratepayers, three of the state’s six biomass plants are closing, at least for now, saying they can’t keep running without even higher subsidies.

The plants, and Democratic opportunists, are blaming Gov. Chris Sununu, who vetoed a bill that would have mandated New Hampshire electric utilities buy power from the plants at above-market prices. That extra expense would be carried over into New Hampshire electric bills.

Burning wood to produce electricity is simply not economically viable, at least not in the summer when natural gas is a much cheaper fuel source to turn electric turbines.

When demand spikes in the winter, the price of natural gas goes up, and wood-fired plants can better compete. Instead of acknowledging the challenges of the market, biomass backers want the state to shield these plants from the laws of supply and demand.

Policy makers have gradually separated power generation from distribution. This should lead to greater competition, but these same policy makers keep getting in the way.

Businesses should not be subsidized by ratepayers paying artificially high electric rates.

The Legislature should sustain Sununu’s veto and oppose expansion of wood chip welfare.

Politics Energy Editorial

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