New Hampshire PUC publishes proposed RPS amendments

By Erin Voegele | April 10, 2014

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission has published a document containing proposed amendments to the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS). In mid-2012, New Hampshire passed legislation making it the first state to grant full credit to renewable thermal projects under a RPS. With the publication of the proposed amendments, the New Hampshire PUC has taken another step in implementing the new provisions of the program.

The amendments set a 0.4 percent RPS requirement for Class I thermal starting in 2014, ramping up to a 2 percent requirement in years 2023 and later. The total RPS requirement for 2014 is 9.7 percent, increasing to 24.8 percent in 2025 and thereafter. The 24.8 percent requirement in 2025 includes a 15 percent requirement for total Class I sources, 2 percent for thermal Class I sources, 0.3 percent for Class II, 8 percent for Class III and 1.5 percent for Class IV. Additional information on program and class designations is available here.

Among the changes in the proposal is an expansion in the definition of a Class I facilities to include facilities that produce useful thermal energy from geothermal energy, solar thermal energy or thermal biomass energy. Eligible units must begin operations after Jan. 1, 2013.

Large thermal sources are define as those with total gross nameplate capacity of more than 150,000 Btu per hour of useful thermal energy, while small thermal sources are defined as those with ah total gross nameplate capacity of 150,000 Btu per hour or less of useful thermal energy.

Under the proposal, thermal biomass renewable energy technologies are defined as facilities comprised of one or more biomass units that produce useful thermal energy and began operation after Jan. 1, 2013. The facility must also meet several requirements. First, if the biomass unit is rated between 3 and 30 MMBtu per hour design gross heat input, the particulate emission rate from the unit must be less than or equal to 0.1 pounds per MMBtu. Second, units rated equal to or higher than 30 MMBtu per hour must have particulate emissions rates of 0.02 pounds per MMBtu or less. Furthermore, if the biomass unit is rated at less than 100 MMbtu per hour, it must implement best management practices as established by the department. Biomass units rated at 100 MMBtu per hour or greater must have a quarterly average NOx emission rate of no more than 0.075 pounds per MMbtu.

The new proposal also adds several other provisions to the state’s regulatory RPS language. A full copy of the proposed amendments is available here