GOVERNOR SUNUNU VETOES WOOD-BURNING SUBSIDY BILL

Governor Sununu made a very wise decision to veto the two energy bills; one would have provided $90 million in subsidies to wood chip plants, the other would have provided $20 million in above market rates to larger capacity RE systems over three years.

 

These bills would have added about $110 million over three years to the electric bills of NH ratepayers. Most of that $110 million of subsidies would have been additional revenue for the owners of the wood-chip plants.

 

Northern New Hampshire wood burning power plants claim they are operating at a loss, because of low wholesale market prices. They want to receive up to about 10 cent per kilowatt-hour for their electricity, instead of about 5 cent, which is the annual average NE wholesale price.

 

New Hampshire Electricity Generation


In 2016, about 17.2 percent of electricity generated in New Hampshire was from renewable resources. Renewable energy is likely to continue to increase as a percentage of total electricity generation in New Hampshire. It is amazing numbers for 2017 could not be found. See URLs and table 1.

 

https://www.nh.gov/osi/energy/energy-nh/index.htm

https://www.nh.gov/osi/energy/programs/documents/2018-10-year-state...

 

Table 1/Source

2011

2016

GWh

GWh

Nuclear

 

10761

Natural Gas

 

4744

- Biomass (wood)

1025

1689

- Hydro

1605

1145

- Wind

66

432

Coal

 

422

- Solar

52

Petroleum liquids

 

39

- Total RE

2696

3318

RE, % of generation

17.2

Total generation

19284

 

New Hampshire Wood-Chip Power Plants

 

New Hampshire has six wood-chip power plants. The data in table 2 was obtained from URL. The production for the plants was calculated by proration, based on actual Ryegate numbers.

https://www.esf.edu/nekda/documents/WoodEnergyinNH-SarahSmith.pdf

 

The NH wood-chip plants could produce about 995/19284 = 5.2% of NH generation, based on 19,284 GWh in 2016.

https://www.eia.gov/electricity/state/newhampshire/

 

ENGIE, a French-owned energy conglomerate, based in Houston, claims it bought about 500,000 ton of wood chips for $13.4 million in 2017, or $26.8/ton.

 

Table 2/Plant

Owner

 MW

 Wood-chip

Production

Ton/y

GWh/y

Hemphill, Springfield

So. Korean

13.8

208,000

108

Bridgewater, Bridgewater

15

229,000

117

Pinetree, Tamworth

ENGIE, French

20

286,000

156

Pinetree, Bethlehem

ENGIE, French

15

227,000

117

Whitefield, Whitefield

So. Korean

13.8

187,000

108

PSNH, Portsmouth

50

450,000

390

Total

127.6

1587000

995

Nearby plants:

Rygate Power, Rygate, VT

20

250,000

156

Sappi, Westbrook, ME

N/A

400,000

Wood Source Energy Factor (Power Plants): Losses = Upstream (harvest, chipping, transport (2.5%) + Conversion to electricity, including site self-use (75%) + Transmission and distribution (7%) = 84.5%, i.e., 15.5% arrives at the user meters.

The source energy factor for wood-chip power plants is 100/15.5 = 6.45, i.e., the energy equivalent of 5.45 of 6.45 trees is wasted. 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/more-realistic-energy-s...

Vermont Ryegate Power Plant: Vermont has the Ryegate wood burning plant, which gets about 50 percent of its trees from northern NH. Its efficiency is about 25%, but the efficiency from “forest to electric meter” is about 15.5 percent.

 

Ryegate burns about 250,000 ton of trees per year, which has about 250,000 ton of combustion CO2 emissions per year. In New England, it takes about 40 years for the CO2 to be reabsorbed by new tree growth; it is about 20 to 25 years in planted and fertilized forests in Georgia.

 

That means, if a wood burning plant operates for 40 years and is then shutdown, it would take another 40 years before all its combustion CO2 is absorbed.

 

There is an additional CO2 of about 15% to 20%, on a forest-to-electric meter basis, such as due to logging and power plant operations, disturbance of the forests, various losses, etc.

 

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/is-burning-wood-co-2-ne...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/wood-for-fuel-logging-i...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/a-comparison-of-wood-ch...

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/dismal-economics-and-in...

 

NOTE:

- The owners of the Ryegate, VT, 20 MW, wood-chip power plant receive about 10 c/kWh for electricity fed to the NE grid (156 million kWh in 2015), under Vermont’s SPEED program, which subsidizes wood burning.

- NH wood-chip power plant owners receive wholesale rates of about 5 c/kWh.

- NE wholesale prices have averaged about 5 c/kWh for the past 9 years, and likely will not be increasing, due to an abundance of domestic, low-cost, natural gas.

http://www.vermontstandardoffer.com/ryegate-production/

 

NOTE: Below are listed the wood tonnage and combustion CO2 tonnage of Vermont’s wood chip power plants in 2015. See URLs and table 2.

 

Vermont Wood Power Plants

 

 McNeil

Ryegate

 Total

Table 2

 

 ton

ton

ton

Electrical, wood

2015, McNeil

469,190.0

249,843

719,033 

Electrical, wood CO2

EPA, McNeil

473,100.4

251,925

725,025

 

http://www.maforests.org/McNeil Emissions 2015.pdf

http://www.maforests.org/RYEGATE TECHNICAL.pdf

 

Wood-Chip Heating Plants Waste Much Less Trees

 

Wood Source Energy Factor (Building Heating Plants): Losses = Upstream (harvest, chipping, transport (2.5%) + Conversion to heat, including site self-use (30%) + Thermal distribution (5%) = 37.5%, i.e., 62.5% arrives at the user heating appliance.

 

The source energy factor for building wood-chip heating plants is 100/62.5 = 1.6, i.e., the energy equivalent of only 0.6 of 1.6 trees is wasted.

 

NOTE: Heating plants are not base-loaded plants. Their conversion efficiency is the seasonal average, which is less than the rated value in brochures.

 

NOTE: District biomass and waste plants can produce electricity and heat. The plant annual average efficiency is dependent on full, year-round utilization of the rejected heat. That efficiency usually is less than the rated value in brochures.

 

Wood Source Energy Factor (Heating Plants)

%

Upstream (harvest, chipping, transport)

 2.5

Conversion to electricity, including site self-use

 30.0

Transmission and distribution

5.0

Total loss

37.5

Arriving at user meters

 62.5

Source energy factor 100/62.5

1.6

APPENDIX 1

LNG Deliveries to Boston: The Christophe de Margerie, a RUSSIAN-OWNED icebreaking tanker named after the deceased former CEO of Total, motored into Isle de Grain, UK, on Dec. 28, according to market information provider ICIS. It unloaded LNG from the new Yamal gas/oil plant in Russia*.

 

The Gaselys, a FRENCH-OWNED tanker, arrived at Isle de Grain, UK.

It took on a cargo of commingled LNG, including LNG from the Christophe de Margerie*. 

It left the port on Jan. 7 

It arrived at the ENGIE terminal (owned by a FRENCH company) in Everett, Mass., three weeks later and delivered its payload.

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060076897

 

* A large LNG storage facility in the UK that receives gas from many sources, including the Netherlands, Norway, Middle East, Russia, etc.

 

* Shipments of Russian oil and gas are not subject to sanctions, but “US persons and those in the US” are prohibited from financing Novatek, the lead company in the construction of Yamal LNG. TOTAL, a French company, owns 20% of Yamal.

https://www.ft.com/content/56f19604-fd6d-11e7-a492-2c9be7f3120a

 

* Whereas, there is no way of knowing the Russian percentage, the US media quickly labeled it Russian LNG.

 

* Both LNG tankers were built in South Korea. It is amazing how much of the LNG infrastructure, and LNG storage plants, and LNG fleets are built and owned by foreigners! See URL.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/the-eu-and-internationa...

APPENDIX 2

New England Wholesale Electricity Prices: New England wholesale prices have averaged about 5 c/kWh for steady, 24/7/365 electricity since about 2008, primarily due to:

 

1) Natural gas electricity; 50% of NE generation; low-cost (5 c/kWh), low-CO2 emitting, no particulates, domestic fuel. 

2) Nuclear electricity; 26% of NE generation; low-cost (5 c/kWh), minimal-CO2 emitting, no particulates, domestic fuel.

3) NE hydro electricity; 8.4% of generation, low-cost (5 c/kWh), minimal-CO2 emitting, no particulates, domestic.

4) Tie line electricity; 16.7% of NE grid load; low-cost (5.7 c/kWh), minimal-CO2 emitting, no particulates, imported.

APPENDIX 3

High Electricity Prices for RE in New England; The highly subsidized wholesale prices of wind and solar paid by utilities to producers are much higher than in the rest of the US, because of New England’s mediocre wind and solar conditions.

http://www.windtaskforce.org/profiles/blogs/subsidized-solar-system...

- Onshore/ridgeline wind about 9.5 c/kWh 

- Offshore wind about 21 c/kWh 

- Large-scale, field-mounted, competitively auctioned solar about 13.5 c/kWh

- Residential, roof-mounted solar about 18 c/kWh

NOTE: The above prices would be about 50% higher without the subsidies and even higher without cost shifting. 

NOTE: Here is an ISO-NE graph, which shows for very few hours during a 13-y period were wholesale prices higher than 6 c/kWh. Those prices are low because of low-cost gas, low-cost nuclear and low-cost hydro. The last four peaks were due to:

- Pipeline constraints, aggravated by the misguided recalcitrance of pro-RE Governors of NY and MA

- Pre-mature closings of coal and nuclear plants

- Lack of more robust connections to nearby grids, such as New York and Canada. See URLs.

https://www.iso-ne.com/about/key-stats/markets/

http://truenorthreports.com/rolling-blackouts-are-probably-coming-t...

 

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Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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