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September 17, 2014
Home › NHPR News › PSNH Agrees To PUC Conditions For Proposed Berlin Biomass Plant
There’s good news for proponents of a proposed biomass plant in Berlin.
NHPR’s Chris Jensen reports.
Last month the Public Utilities Commission said a proposed 20-year deal under which PSNH would buy power from the proposed Laidlaw Berlin BioPower plant was not in the public interest.
The deal had been challenged by the PUC staff and Office of Consumer Advocate as being too lucrative.
They argued PSNH was promising to pay far more than the market price – at the expense of the state’s consumers.
PSNH denied it was doing anything to harm consumers.
The PUC’s refusal to accept the deal, however, put the proposed biomass plant in jeopardy.
When the project was approved by the state’s Site Evaluation Committee last year there was one major condition.
That was that the 20-year contract be approved by the PUC in order to prove the plant had adequate financing.
But the PUC didn’t completely reject the 20-year deal.
It gave conditional approval if PSNH would make some serious changes to the deal.
During hearings before the PUC, PSNH insisted it needed that exact deal to make the project work.
But the utility has changed its mind.
In a new filing PSNH says it will meet the PUC’s conditions.
One change is paying less for electricity.
Another involves putting less money aside for the possible purchase of the Berlin plant.
The deal is still being challenged by six wood-burning power plants. Their lawyer argues the PUC erred in granting the conditional approval. He has asked for reconsideration.
That opens the possibility of litigation.
But overall PSNH’s decision is a step forward for the Laidlaw Berlin BioPower plant which has been touted an giving the North Country a much-needed economic boost.
For NHPR News, this is Chris Jensen
Chris Jensen is NHPR's North Country Reporter
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This project only gives Berlin a "much-needed economic boost". It will be a net wash for the North Country if the construction of the Berlin plant causes the shutdown of the smaller plants. Whitefield, Tamworth, Bethlehem, and Bristol will loose their tax base and jobs and Berlin will gain the same. Why spend government incentives on something like this - its a waste of money.
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