Forget amber — T-RECs made from woodchips*

Author Patrick Zemanek, Reporter

New Hampshire's Sullivan County is selling the first T-RECs – that’s thermal renewable energy certificates, not the dinosaur variety - from a biomass plant.

Sullivan County, located on the state’s western border, last week began selling the first 305 T-RECs from its biomass facility on the New England Power Pool Generation Information System. The certificates went up for sale on 15 July.

The county expects to generate around $80,000 in revenue this year by selling the RECs, with larger batches expected to be posted in future quarters.

The RECs originate from a biomass facility located in Unity, New Hampshire. Woodchips from the local lumber industry are supplying the project, which generates steam for heating. The county says the facility cuts CO2 emissions by more 100 tons/yr relative to the same energy produced by fuel oil.

New Hampshire's renewable portfolio standard divides generators into four separate categories, with "useful thermal energy" classified as a Class I resources alongside wind, biomass and tidal energy. There is a 2.2pc by 2023 carve-out for thermal within the Class I allotment, which requires electricity distributors to procure RECs generated by eligible projects.

T-RECs can be produced by solar thermal, geothermal and biomass facilities, with each certificate equivalent to 3.412MBtu, which, in turn, equals 1MWh.

Like lawmakers in many states in the northeast US, New Hampshire legislators are considering toughening the state's RPS. SB 124 would raise the Class I requirements to 31.5pc by 2040, up from 15pc by 2025, with a 5.2pc carve-out for thermal. While the state Senate passed the bill earlier this year, a House of Representatives committee retained the legislation, intending to revisit it next year.

Sullivan County’s woodchips may not hearken from the Jurassic Period of book and movie fame. But T-Rex wasn’t around then either.

*Apologies to Michael Crichton