Green jobs, Clean air: Extend Contract Allowing Biomass Plant to Sell Energy Credits

LYONS FALLS — July 25, 2014 – ReEnergy Holdings LLC, Latham, has requested that the state Public Service Commission extend energy credits for its Lyonsdale wood-chip cogeneration facility, and this would be a wise move.

The seven-year contract that ReEnergy’s 22-megawatt plant holds to sell renewable energy credits to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority will expire at the end of the year. ReEnergy has petitioned the PSC to extend this contract by three years; the energy credits are sold in accordance with PSC’s Renewable Portfolio Standard as administered by NYSERDA.

Sarah M. Boggess, ReEnergy’s director of communications and governmental affairs, said this measure is necessary for the Lyonsdale plant to remain financially viable. Given the benefit that the biomass process offers to the North Country, extending this contract would be the best choice.

“The facility uses heat generated by the combustion of biomass material to create steam, which drives a turbine to generate electricity,” according to information provided by ReEnergy. “The power is sent along a transmission cable system for sale into the region’s electricity market. The facility also supplies thermal energy in the form of steam to neighboring Burrows Paper.”

Biomass material comes from forest residue and locally grown shrub willow. In buying this material from loggers, ReEnergy says its Lyonsdale facility supports more than 100 direct and indirect jobs. The plant makes $6.6 million in annual fuel purchases from loggers in the North Country, according to ReEnergy.

This process helps clear unnecessary debris from our forests. In doing so, it provides an alternative revenue stream to local loggers and generates a renewable form of energy.

ReEnergy also oversees a 60-megawatt Black River operation, thus supplying virtually of Fort Drum’s electricity.

In addition to extending its Lyonsdale contract, ReEnergy is requesting that the PSC give the plant “the option to accept or reject any maintenance tier award offered by the commission so that Lyonsdale may alternatively choose to participate in NYSERDA’s next Main Tier solicitation” and that the PSC “provide in its order that ReEnergy be allowed to extend any contract it enters into with NYSERDA, either as a maintenance resource or Main Tier resource, should the commission decide in any other proceeding to remove the 10-year cap on RPS contracts,” according to ReEnergy.

Job growth and producing more clean energy are crucial to the North Country and the state. The PSC would be addressing both needs by granting ReEnergy’s petition.