Mass. takes action with RPS woody biomass regulations

By Staff | October 08, 2012

Massachusetts’ renewable portfolio standard (RPS) is divided into two classes. The Class I standard applies to new resources and requires 15 percent renewable energy by 2020, with an additional 1 percent for each following year. The Class II standard applies to existing resources and requires 3.9 percent renewables and 3.5 percent waste-to-energy in 2009 and thereafter. The state made announcements regarding each class in August.

More than two years after the process began, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources published its final regulation pertaining to the eligibility of renewable biomass for Class I of its RPS program, ending the moratorium on new biomass projects that was put into place in 2009. Indications are the regulations will make stand-alone biomass power within the state infeasible. 

A few days later, the DOER began a different moratorium on the qualification of wood biomass units for the state’s Class II RPS program and kicked off a rulemaking process on the RPS Class regulation to incorporate carbon emission limits and accounting from biomass plants in a manner consistent with the final regulations for the RPS Class I program.