Interpreting the Biomass Power Association's Complaints: An Annotated Guide

It was inevitable that the biomass power industry would pounce on Governor Baker’s “regulatory review” initiative in Massachusetts to attack the groundbreaking rules enacted in 2012 that eliminated renewable energy subsidies for low-efficiency biomass power plants.  Out-of-state facilities that have been getting renewable energy credits in Massachusetts (to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year) have until the end of January to meet an efficiency standard of 50%, or lose their subsidies.  Letters submitted by the Biomass Power Association and Palmer Renewable Energy, a company trying to develop a biomass plant in Springfield, MA, claim that because electricity-only plants can’t meet that efficiency standard, it should be rescinded. The letters contained a few *cough cough* “discrepancies,” so we marked them up to provide some clarification. 


There’s so much here, a real parade of bioenergy industry arguments. One we hadn’t seen before was a somewhat startling admission from Bob Cleaves at the Biomass Power Association, as he complained that building combined heat and power facilities is hard:


“CHP facilities must be near large, heat-consuming hosts, such as hospitals (which would never want to be near a large industrial facility like a power plant, especially one that receives its fuel delivery by a steady stream of large trucks loaded with wood)”


You can see this and lots more in our annotated versions of the letter from the Biomass Power Association, here, and the letter from Palmer Renewable Energy, here.