Proposed final Massachusetts rules would effectively end RECs for biomass power plants

On April 27, 2012, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER) proposed final regulations governing the eligibility of biomass energy for Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for compliance with the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (RPS). Key provisions of DOER’s proposed final regulation include:

  • The proposed final rule would define “eligible biomass woody fuel” to exclude whole tree chips unless from certain thinning activities and include only slash, tops and branches with additional eligibility criteria based on the soil quality at and the size of the harvest site.
  • To be eligible for RECs, biomass generation units must demonstrate an overall efficiency of 60% to achieve a full credit; units achieving 50% efficiency earn only half a REC. It is our understanding that few, if any, stand-alone biomass power plants would meet the efficiency thresholds and that only a limited number of cogeneration units may meet this threshold.

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