State law­mak­ers push sub­si­dies for power plants that burn wood

Woonsocket Call - - FRONT PAGE -

PROV­I­DENCE (AP) — Rhode Is­land law­mak­ers are one step closer to grant­ing biomass power the same in­cen­tives of­fered to wind and so­lar power.

The Prov­i­dence Jour­nal re­ports the House Com­mit­tee on Cor­po­ra­tions passed a bill to in­clude biomass, which burns wood waste to gen­er­ate elec­tric­ity, in the state’s 2011 net me­ter­ing law. The law al­lows com­pa­nies to off­set their elec­tric bills by sell­ing re­new­able en­ergy to the power grid.

The Se­nate passed a ver­sion of the bill ear­lier this month. The bill would bring the law into line with the Re­new­able En­ergy Stan­dard set by the state in 2004, which in­cluded biomass as a re­new­able en­ergy source.

The bill comes as Green De­vel­op­ment is propos­ing a biomass plant in John­ston, Rhode Is­land. Spokesman Bill Fis­cher says the plant wouldn’t make eco­nomic sense un­less the bill is en­acted. No biomass plants have been de­vel­oped yet in Rhode Is­land.

Some en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists op­pose the plant and say burn­ing wood waste pro­duces car­bon emis­sions.

Johnathan Ber­ard, Rhode Is­land di­rec­tor of Clean Wa­ter Ac­tion, said the bill amounts to a quid-pro-quo. Mark DePasquale, founder of Green De­vel­op­ment, has made more than $30,000 in campaign con­tri­bu­tions to Demo­cratic leg­isla­tive lead­ers, in­clud­ing House Speaker Ni­cholas Mat­tiello, Se­nate Pres­i­dent Dominick Rug­ge­rio and Gov. Gina Rai­mondo.

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