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Expanded Renewable Energy Rules Pass NH House

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Biomass could get a boost if the new renewable rules pass

The New Hampshire House has passed a new version of 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.

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