Changing Renewable Infrastructure in the Northeast
by Keefer Welsh
Each state has its own definition of what qualifies as a renewable source of energy. A handful of generation methods remain undisputed (i.e. solar, wind and hydro), but one method that is not as consistently defined as renewable is wood-fired power plants. Falling under the category of biomass generation, wood fire power plants have come under increasing scrutiny and financial pressure as states begin to reevaluate their definition of renewable energy under the shadow of aggressive carbon goals.
In New England, wood-fired plants account for a sizeable portion of the region’s biomass generation, particularly during times when solar and wind resources are not producing. They have served as reliable sources of renewable power for the region while consuming a byproduct of a large forestry industry
Over the past few years, these facilities have been out-competed by other forms of generators and have failed to achieve the same level of subsidies as similar dated forms of generation such as coal. Recently here in New Hampshire, legislative decisions struck another blow to these produces and immediately prompted two of the state’s wood-fired plants to begin planning their shut down. The effects of which will be felt both within the local economies and within the ISO’s renewable infrastructure; accelerating the demand for renewable resources and increasing the challenge of offsetting their production fluctuations. Reach out to an Atlas energy adviser for more insight into changing power markets and the effects it can have on your business.
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