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New Biomass Subsidy Plan, Attached To Microgrids Bill, Nears Sununu’s Desk

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

New subsidies for New Hampshire's biomass power plants may soon face a veto by Governor Chris Sununu. 

The bill awaiting Sununu's signature is a new version of a plan he tried to block last year.

This proposal would have utilities charge ratepayers a little extra to help keep six wood-burning power plants afloat.

The House and Senate both approved the plan by wide margins, and are preparing to send it to the governor as an amendment to an unrelated bill.

That bill would set up a study committee on microgrids – localized energy systems that can operate separately from the larger grid.

Now, the microgrids proposal and its attached biomass subsidy plan are nearing action by Sununu. When the legislature officially sends the bill his way, he could sign it and the biomass amendment into law, veto them, or let them take effect with no signature.

Sununu vetoed a version of the biomass plan last year, and legislators overrode him by one vote – but a federal challenge has kept the law from taking effect.

That dispute is now awaiting intervention by the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

Backers believe this year’s version of the subsidy plan will pass legal muster. Critics say that’s not yet clear.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the biomass bill is awaiting Sununu's signature this week. In fact, state legislators have approved the bill and are preparing to send it to the governor, who could then act on it in the coming weeks. This story and its headline have been updated to correct the error. 

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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