Conn. decision may revive N.H. wood burner

A recent decision handed down by the Connecticut Department of Public Utility Control that says plans for modernizing a New Hampshire wood-burning power plant qualify it for certification as a Class 1 renewable energy source could breathe new life into the Alexandria facility.

In order to qualify as a Class 1 renewable facility, the plant must agree to utilize biomass that will not result in the depletion of resources and must maintain an average emission rate equal to or less than 0.075 pounds of NOx per million BTU of heat input for the previous calendar quarter.

Final Class 1 application approval for the project cannot be determined until the facility is able to provide data demonstrating compliance with emissions requirements.

According to the department’s draft decision, Laidlaw Energy Group Inc. of New York, in a joint venture with EcoPower LLC of Texas, want to recommision the 19 year-old New Hampshire facility after adding new computerized systems, advanced combustion controls and catalytic reduction systems in order to reduce nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide emissions.

The renewed facility will primarily utilize materials considered “clean wood,” including sawdust, bark and whole-tree chips, for conversion into electric power. Alternative sources may include land-clearing debris, tree stumps and other biomass material that does not result in resource depletion.

The Alexandria facility has been owned by Indek-Alexandria since 1998 and originally operated with a 1986 Zurn boiler coupled to a 16 MW General Electric Turbine generator.

Public Service of New Hampshire began purchasing electricity from the facility in 1987, when the plant began operating commercially. The plant was decommissioned in 1994 after PSNH bought out the remaining term of the rate order requiring the electricity purchase. – TRACIE STONE

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