A ‘Biomess’ in Massachusetts

The commonwealth's final RPS qualification standards are overdue.
By Lisa Gibson | January 25, 2011

As Massachusetts develops new renewable portfolio standard (RPS) qualifications, the commonwealth could be positioning itself as the most unwelcoming to biomass projects in the country, leaving developers, foresters, laborers and biomass proponents concerned about the future of the industry.

The Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources is months overdue on issuing its final draft of rule changes, determining which projects qualify for the state’s 20 percent by 2025 RPS and receive renewable energy certificates (RECs). Without RECs, biomass projects are not economical. The DOER previously released drafts of proposed rule changes, including a 60 percent efficiency standard and a limit on the amount of forest wood that can be used: 15 percent of the weight of all forest products. The changes stem from a push against state regulatory agencies by opposition groups trying to stop the use of biomass to produce renewable energy.

The proposed rules stipulate that if a biomass power plant can reach 40 percent efficiency it will receive half an REC, ratcheted up to one full REC upon reaching 60 percent efficiency. From a developer’s perspective, even 40 percent can be a daunting hurdle.

Dwayne Breger, director of renewable and alternative energy development for the DOER, had expected the agency to file final rule regulation in January.

—Lisa Gibson


2 Responses

  1. Jana Chicoine



    The people do not want to pay through the nose to subsidize these extremely wasteful, pulluting, inefficient, forest-eating incinerators. Bob Cleaves continually states that no one is burning whole trees, yet photographs of huge piles of whole trees have been taken at Burlington Vermont and Lockerbie Station and could be taken at many other plants. Hey Bob why do you have to lie to promote your industry?

  2. Aspen DuBois



    Thurston County, Washington also has a moratorium on allowing biomass incinerators disguised as "clean" energy. And the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League has launched a campaign to "halt biomass incinerators in the Southeast." Massachusetts is in good company by leaving in place the REC moratorium. There is a growing citizen backlash against the corporations promoting these incinerators that spew toxins into our air and water. This week in Gainesville, Florida a new anti-biomass campaign was launched to halt the American Renewable's greenwashed biomass incinerator there.


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