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Expanded Renewable Energy Rules Pass NH House

Biomass could get a boost if the new renewable rules pass
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Biomass could get a boost if the new renewable rules pass

The New Hampshire House has passed a new versionof the rules that govern what counts as renewable energy. The bill would expand the definition of renewable to include thermal energy.

The changes mean schools, hospitals or other large buildings that install high-efficiency, wood-burning heating plants could get a piece of state subsidies. Money would also go to solar-hot water, or geothermal installations.

Charlie Niebling of New England Wood Pellet, has been watching the bill carefully. He says because New Hampshire uses just as much energy for heating as it does to generate electricity, this is an important change.

"I think there was wide-spread recognitition that the time was right to include a modest incentive for renewable heating technologies like solar, like wood, like geothermal, all of which would qualify under the provision that was enacted by the house and senate," Niebling says.

The house-passed version scales subsidies back slightly, which house lawmakers say was necessary to keep the bill revenue neutral.

Sam Evans-Brown has been working for New Hampshire Public Radio since 2010, when he began as a freelancer. He shifted gears in 2016 and began producing Outside/In, a podcast and radio show about “the natural world and how we use it.” His work has won him several awards, including two regional Edward R. Murrow awards, one national Murrow, and the Overseas Press Club of America's award for best environmental reporting in any medium. He studied Politics and Spanish at Bates College, and before reporting was variously employed as a Spanish teacher, farmer, bicycle mechanic, ski coach, research assistant, a wilderness trip leader and a technical supporter.
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