Legislature adjusts incentives to ensure energy mix

By THOMAS P. CALDWELL
LACONIA DAILY SUN
The future of an energy bill that offers incentives for solar and biomass energy remains uncertain as Gov. Chris Sununu weighs the overall impact of the legislation on the cost of electricity.
Senate Bill 129 aims to see that at least 15 percent of the state’s renewable energy fund goes toward the financing of community solar projects, as well as increasing the value of renewable energy credits for biomass plants.
Sununu, in an interview with the Conway Daily Sun, expressed concern about offering “a raw subsidy to biomass” without additional laws to benefit ratepayers.
“Nobody wanted to go forward with any of the things that cut rates,” he told the newspaper. “They just wanted to go forward with the piece that increased rates. That’s a tough one." Sununu wants to see offsetting benefits for ratepayers. “You can’t just ask the ratepayers to keep paying more and more,” he said.
Proponents of the bill argue that the renewable energy credits, or RECs, are not subsidies, but incentives that pay dividends to the state.
Shelagh Connelly of Resource Management, Inc., which offers advice on agricultural, landscaping, and municipal resources, says, “SB 129 is critical to the survival of New Hampshire’s six independent biomass plants and to New Hampshire’s timberland owners and the forest products businesses that rely on the low-grade timber markets these plants provide. Without those plants, New Hampshire will lose most of its low-grade timber markets. Without these markets, forestry, logging, and sawmilling will look very different a few months from now. Foresters and landowners will lose an important tool for sustainable forestry, loggers will lose an important market for their timber, and sawmills will lose an important market for mill waste. And farmers will lose wood ash.”
Bob Berti, a long-time forester and fuel procurement manager for the Bridgewater Power Company, said the credits, while necessary for the profitability of biomass plants such as the one in Bridgewater, enable the industry as a whole to put more money back into the economy.
“That far outweighs any payments that are made,” he said.
Berti said New Hampshire’s forest-based industry contributes $1.4 billion annually to the state’s economy. The North East State Foresters Association puts the total economic value of direct sales and employment in forest products at $2.259 billion annually, nearly four percent of the Gross State Product.
Bristol forester Shaun Lagueux said biomass plants, which burn low-grade wood, are important in maintaining good forestry practices. The plants rely on renewable energy credits to offset the cost of pollution-control equipment.
Because New Hampshire has a cap on the rate energy suppliers pay for RECs, biomass plants have come to rely on REC sales to Massachusetts and Connecticut, where they could get higher prices for the certificates. Now Massachusetts has stopped buying RECs from biomass plants, and Connecticut is due to stop purchasing them by the end of 2018, Lagueux said.
The Indeck Energy plant in Alexandria has shut down operations, at least temporarily, and other biomass plants may follow without the ability to utilize RECs.
For loggers, that would further reduce the price they get for wood chips, and pulpwood prices also have been dropping. Without the ability to get rid of that low-grade wood, which can amount to between 50 and 80 percent of the harvest, both trees and employment are in peril, Lagueux said.
HB 129 would increase the ceiling on RECs from $45 to $55.
“Keeping the biomass plants open is a big thing,” said Lagueux. “It enables us to do some good forestry. Removing as much low-grade material as possible improves the forest.”
Berti said New Hampshire has more foresters per acre than any other state in the nation, making for a “quiet but viable” industry that has improved the quality of its trees while also improving the quality of the water going into the watersheds. He boasted that New Hampshire has the cleanest water in the United States.
The legislation also seeks to give low- to moderate-income residents the ability to afford solar arrays, and it provides that all members of a group solar project will receive credits on their electric bills for the power they put into the electric grid.
Opponents argue that those credits force other ratepayers to pay higher fees, and that the proposed repeal of the Electricity Consumption Tax will not be enough to offset those increases.
Attempts to reach Gov. Sununu for further comment have been unsuccessful.

  • Written by Rick Green
  • Category: Local News
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Conway takes nine dogs in rescue

06 20 Conway Great Dane 1 Della

Deb Cameron from the Conway Area Humane Society takes one of the dogs taken from the Wolfeboro breeder out for a walk. It was taken prior to Friday's raid. (Daymond Steer/Conway Daily Sun)

By DAYMOND STEER, CONWAY DAILY SUN

CONWAY — Nine of the Great Dane dogs rescued Friday from alleged squalid conditions at a commercial breeding operation in Wolfeboro and Bartlett over the weekend are now recuperating at Conway Area Humane Society.

The nine dogs taken to Conway Area Humane Society came from the same Wolfeboro location but they were taken in by authorities prior to Friday.

"I'm a combat veteran," said Wolfeboro Police Chief Dean Rondeau in a conference call Saturday, describing what he saw at the Wolfeboro kennel. "I'm not ashamed to tell you that I was upset. I was absolutely sickened by what I saw ... I can't describe it adequately, other than to use the words 'abhorrent' and 'appalling' ... I have never seen anything like this in my career in law enforcement or in my career in the military."

The nine dogs taken to Conway Area Humane Society are receiving medical attention before being adopted, according to Operations Manager Deb Cameron.

"Some of them have cherry eye, and that requires corrective surgery," sad Cameron. "Some of them have had ear infections, other eye infections, skin infections — some of them are getting over a viral disease that's contagious to other dogs."

Cherry eye is a disorder of the nictitating membrane. Cameron said cherry eye surgery can vary with the severity of the individual care and cost between $250 and $1,000.

All 84 dogs seized June 16 initially went to an undisclosed shelter set up and run by the Humane Society of the United States, which is covering the costs associated with caring for the other dogs for the duration of the case, said Cameron and Lindsay Hamrick of the HSUS. The location was undisclosed because the dogs are evidence in the case against Fay.

Hamrick said the animals have a number of health conditions. "It's going to be a long and expensive road ahead for these guys, but we are committed to making it happen," said Hamrick.

Cameron said it's hard to say how long it will take to get the nine dogs in Conway to an adoptable condition because each dog has its own issues. She said her organization could use some food donations.

"They eat a tremendous amount of food," said Cameron, noting that grain-free foods are best because they are good for dogs with skin issues.

"Any toys that can sustain a Great Dane's level of strength are appreciated, as well as money donations to help us pay for the medications that they are on and for the specialist visits for their eye issues and dermatology visits for their skin issues."

The dogs' names are Della, Bam Bam, Ellie, Uggie, Deliliah, Bruno, Mufasa, Caesar and Cubby. The biggest is about 146 pounds.

She said there was "an incredible rancid smell" coming off the dogs when rescuers arrived. She said the animals were kept in an environment full of feces and urine. She also said they had issues with their feet.

Rondeau said Fay's bail conditions prohibit her from receiving, owning, possessing, housing or in any way being responsible for an animal until her case is adjudicated. He said more charges are likely.

Neighbors previously made complaints about barking dogs. Fay told town officials she had 15 dogs that she kept as pets. But when people who had been inside the home began bringing their concerns to agencies such as the Pope Memorial SPCA in Concord, Rondeau said it became clear more was going on than someone with just a few more pets than usual.

"This case is not just about a few dogs being neglected," said Rondeau. "It's about reckless conduct, abhorrent behavior toward animals over profit, and a scofflaw attitude about business practices, rules and regulations which are important to the town and the state of New Hampshire."

Asked why police didn't move sooner, Rondeau said that it took time to secure warrants and to figure out the logistics of moving so many sick and contagious dogs. Rondeau said he's grateful to all the agencies that helped.

They included the town's fire and public works departments, CAHS, HSUS, Pope Memorial SPCA, Carroll County Sheriff Department, Bartlett and Barnstead police, State Police and Stewart's Ambulance. About 80 people participated in the rescue.

Rescuers were on scene in Wolfeboro on Friday from about 8:25 a.m. to midnight, though planning the raid began at 6:45 a.m.

The Humane Society had brought two semi-trailers to transport all of the animals, but only the juveniles were small enough to fit in the trailers' crates. The fully grown animals were removed using horse trailers. One of those trailers was provided by For Your Paws Only owners Kathy and Brian Ahearn of North Conway.

Cameron said the dogs are "timid" but seem to be enjoying their new environment with clean beds to sleep on and good food and water. She said Great Danes are usually "gentle, sweet dogs."

"We will just have to take slow," she said.

Donations can be made to CAHS by mail, online or phone. Visit www.conwayshelter.org and go to "Donate"; mail a contribution to CAHS, P.O. Box 260, Conway, NH 03018; or call (603) 447-5605.

The Humane Society of the United States would also appreciate donations. Visit humanesociety.org/about/departments/animal-rescue-team/animal_rescue_team.html

Adam Drapcho of The Laconia Daily Sun contributed to this report.

  • Written by Ginger Kozlowski
  • Category: Local News
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Newfound Regional High School Class of 2017

BRISTOL — Paul Hoiriis, principal of Newfound Regional High School, has announced the names of those graduating with the Class of 2017:

Samantha Marie Akerman, Tylor Whitney Austin, Brandon Nash Babbitt, Rachel Elizabeth Bixby, Lauren Catherine Boisvert, Abigail Grace Buchanan, Anthony Mark Charles, Hailie Jane Clark, Crystal May Conkey, Ryan Michael Coughlin, and Nicholas Isaac Xu Lizhi Crosby;

Also, Gretchen Elsa Dancewicz Helmers, Christopher Reilly Davis, Maddisyn Elysabeth DeCormier, Richard David DeLuca, Nathan Dennis Desrochers, Alec Connor Dostie, Paige Frances Dostie, Jarrod Michael Fairbank, Evan Alan Finnegan, Lyndsey Aaron Flanders, and Bradley Nolan Fortier;

Also, Cody Gaynor, Megan Elizabeth Gebhardt, Tiiersten Karee Gosnell, Charles Alexander Gould, Tessa Diane Governanti, Cierra Lynn Greene, Ivy Elizabeth Guyotte, Kiara May Hakins-Tullar, Emilee Rae Haselton, and Daniel Hopkins Holton;

Also, Kaitlyn Nicole Johnson, Amanda Lynn Johnston, Emily Jean Judkins, Lisa Kato, Devon Joseph Kraemer-Roberts, Brooke Alexandra Nadine LaBraney, Paige Cameron Lane, Phalen Kennedy Leclerc, and Nicholas George Lyman;

Also, Joshua Adam MacLean, Christina Lynne Manita, Toni Marie Memmolo, Matthew Richard Mickewicz, Benjamin Francis Morrill, Mackenzie Paige Morton-Kevlin, Rebekah Claire Norton, Leo Lucas Ntourntourekas, and Fallon Quinn O'Dell;

Also, Grace Sandra Page, Britney Marie Pavao, Kelsey Ann Potter, Briale Marie Pratt, Riley Michael Provecher, Christopher Justice Rearick Ahne, Jessie Michael Edward Reidinger, Teagan Milly Rhoades, Cody Christopher Rouille, and Robert Gavin Ruiter;

Also, Heath Michael Sanville, Scott Allen Sargent, Bayley Anne Schaefer, Molly Rose Schilling, Reece Lorden Sharps, Alyssa Marie Shaw, Breanna Marie Shepard, Rebecca Lynn Simison, Gavin Stainbrook, Victoria Sage Steele, Zachary Edward Stubbs, and Andrew Victor Sylvester.

Also, Ryan Joshua Towne, Alexis Paige Vantil, Anthony White, Joshua Aaron Whitney, and Emily Lyn Wolters.

 

  • Written by Tom Caldwell
  • Category: Local News
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