New Hampshire PUC considers lowering biomass RPS requirements

By Erin Voegele | January 02, 2020

The New Hampshire Public Utilities Commission filed a notice on Dec. 24 announcing it is considering reducing the compliance year 2019 Class III requirement for existing biomass and methane under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard. The PUC cited a possible lack of sufficient renewable energy certificates (RECs) resulting from plant closures as the reason for its action.

In the notice, the PUC said it has determined that New Hampshire electricity providers may not be able to procure sufficient RECs to comply with the New Hampshire RPS. As a result, the PUC said it will consider making an adjustment to the Class III requirement for compliance year 2019.

The Class III requirement pertains to existing biomass and methane systems. The category includes facilities with capacities of 25 megawatts (MW) or less that began operating before Jan. 1, 2006. However, methane gas sources that began operations before 2006 and exceed an aggregate gross nameplate capacity of 10 megawatts at any single landfill site are not eligible. If the PUC makes no changes, the Class III REC requirement for 2019 will be 8 percent of retail sales.

The PUC cites reports of temporary or permanent closures of multiple Class III certified biomass facilities in the notice and states the closures of these facilities suggests electricity providers may not be able to procure sufficient Class III RECs to satisfy Class III requirements for compliance year 2019. According to the notice, the combined capacity of the affected facilities represents approximately 30 percent of the total capacity of certified Class III facilities.

A public hearing has been scheduled for Jan. 13 to gather information regarding the 2019 annual electric generation output of certified Class III eligible sources, the corresponding availability of Class III RECs, and demand for those RECs based on market conditions for compliance year 2019.

A full copy of the notice can be downloaded from the New Hampshire PUC website.