NH Legislature Super-Supports Biomass & Wood Ash - Overrides Gov's veto
Last spring, the NH Legislature voted to maintain the electric rate for the wood-fired biomass plants that generate renewable electricity around the state. These small power plants have been a part of the state's renewable energy portfolio and wood byproducts industry since the 1980s. They are a part of the local landscape in north country towns, including Tamworth, where NEBRA is based. Their economic survival depends on legislated minimum wholesale rates paid by electric utilities.
Governor Chris Sununu vetoed the legislation, and the special rate was due to expire. Some of the plants stopped buyiing wood chips, considering shutting down (see WMUR story). But efforts by a coalition of legislators, timberland owners, and other stakeholders resulted in a mid-September veto override vote in the NH House that was successful by just one vote. The Senate's override vote was even stronger.
The wood ash from the biomass power plants has been a staple for conventional and organic agriculture for 25+ years, providing pH increase, potassium, and micronutrients for farm fields around the region. This and other economic ripple effects of the biomass plants were leading reasons that Legislators supported them with super-majority votes. NEBRA members involved in wood ash recycling, including Shelagh Connelly of RMI, were key parts of the coaltion that was effective in supporting the veto override.