At midnight on July 12, 2017, Senate Bill 129 became law. SB 129 is the New Hampshire Timberland Owners Association (NHTOA) legislation that will shore-up the biomass (wood chip) power provisions for New Hampshire’s six independent biomass power plants in the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard law (RPS).
Established in 2007, the RPS is an important part of the state’s energy policy in support of low-emission, locally generated, renewable energy (e.g. wind, solar, small hydroelectric and biomass). Of particular importance for the NHTOA’s membership is the RPS’s support for biomass power as these power plants provide a critical market for low-grade timber. This low-grade timber market enables landowners and land managers to conduct cost-effective forestry and wildlife habitat improvement work and provides an important outlet for sawmill wastes (sawdust and chipped slabs).
In addition to the biomass plants’ contribution to forest and natural resource management (made possible by the RPS), the plants also contribute to the state’s economy. According to a Plymouth State University economic analysis released in March, the six independent biomass power plants that SB 129 supports annually contribute $250 million to the state’s economy and support more than 900 jobs.
The NHTOA thanks all the bill sponsors, who took time to hear your concerns and worked to promote passage of the bill: Senators Jeb Bradley, Dan Feltes, Dan Innis, Kevin Avard, Harold French, Martha Fuller-Clark, Bob Giuda, John Reagan, and Ruth Ward, House of Representative members, Herb Richardson, Coos - 4; Gene Chandler, Carrol – 1; Mark McConkey, Carrol – 3; Marjorie Shepardson, Cheshire – 10; and Bob Backus, Hillsborough – 19. The NHTOA also thanks House and Senate Leadership, Senate President Chuck Morse, and Speaker of the N.H. House of Representatives Shawn Jasper. Their support was critical. And, we want to thank Governor Chris Sununu for taking the time to meet with us, listen to our concerns, learn about this issue, and for allowing SB 129 to become law.
Now that SB 129 is law, the NHTOA is looking forward to working with the Governor’s Office of Strategic Initiatives to find a long-term sustainable solution to supporting the New Hampshire’s biomass power plants and the low-grade timber markets they provide
Most importantly, the NHTOA wants to thank the hundreds of NHTOA members and forestry supporters for making phone calls, testifying at hearings, writing emails, and sending faxes to their elected officials and the Governor’s Office. Their positive message made a difference and carried Senate Bill 129 into law.
For more information, please contact Jasen Stock, NHTOA executive director at 603-224-9699.