The House meets next Wednesday in Concord to decide which bills to override, of the many Gov. Sununu vetoed.
House Bill 183, designed to assist six independent biomass plants around the state to continue operations, has significant economic impacts to our entire state economy.
Those opposed claim the bill will raise electric rates. This is nearly impossible, as the wood plants produce only 100 megawatts of a total of 18,000 megawatts used on any given day. The “subsidy” that some politicians complain of amounts to less than $2 per month to the typical ratepayer; less than a cup of coffee at your local Dunkin’ Donuts.
At this time, some wood plants are powering down as the wholesale price for electricity is too low for them to remain profitable. If these plants close permanently, it will cost ratepayers more than the three-year cost of HB 183, because the 100 megawatts of lost biomass electricity will cause New Hampshire’s share of regional grid capacity costs to increase in all future years by about $17 million a year. Thus, a dynamic $1.4 billion forest industry stands to be decimated while our regional grid costs increase.
Beware of “contrived science” claims being made that these plants are polluting our atmosphere with carbon. Some claim that wood is worse than burning coal! The EPA considers wood “carbon neutral,” as biomass is part of our living biosphere and the Earth’s carbon cycle. Fossil fuels add carbon to the atmosphere. Moreover, coal emissions contain mercury, arsenic and other deadly carcinogens not emitted by wood.
Above all, only the wood plants provide clean, renewable energy 24/7 to the grid while providing $254 million annually to our New Hampshire economy.
More than 1,000 jobs stand to be lost, forestry operations closed and, worse, bankruptcy to family businesses, if this bill is not overturned. I ask all legislators to please vote to overturn the veto of HB 183 on Sept. 18.
341 East Road