Costly biomass energy

To the Editor: There is apparently an effort to resuscitate state-subsidized wood biomass in New Hampshire. This should fail. The industry has no one to blame for its demise except itself and its bad lobbying in Concord.

By way of history, the 1990s were a time of electric power deregulation across the state and it was really needed. New Hampshire has the third-highest electric rates in the nation right behind California and Michigan. But unlike every other electric utility in the state, including PSNH and the N.H. Electric Cooperative, the state subsidized wood biomass industry called the Independent Power Producers never adapted in the face of deregulation. Their rates were always higher, in some cases by double digits.

At the time I was serving in the Legislature on the Science, Technology and Energy Committee, which was passing the deregulation legislation. By my count, the independent power producers paid more than 11 registered lobbyists to preserve their state-subsidized status quo. These lobbyists ranged from well-established Concord law firms to energy experts who were flown in from Washington and foreign countries like Brazil.

To say the wood biomass industry influenced the legislative process just isn’t enough. I was there. They owned the legislative process. New Hampshire transitioned to competitive free markets for electric power and the subsidies for wood biomass continued on.

Gov. Sununu came into office and put an end the state-subsidized wood biomass gravy train. This should have been done a long time ago.



Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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